“I had every right to be bitter…”
Ruth (name changed for privacy) was abandoned by her mother when she was only seven months old. She was raised by her father and step-mother and endured all sorts of mistreatment at her step-mother’s hands. Sometimes her step-mother would starve her for days, refusing her any of the family’s food. On those occasions, Ruth was so hungry she would eat their dog’s leftover food.
One day while she crouched near the dog’s leftovers, her ribs sticking through her dark skin, the neighbor’s young son saw her and told his mother. That evening, the boy’s mother invited Ruth to her house and asked her if what her son had told her was true. Ruth slowly nodded her head, her face clearly showing her terror, and begged the neighbor woman not to tell her step-mother.
“If you tell my step-mother, she will kill me!” Ruth cried, her limbs shaking in fear. “If she knew I ate the dog’s leftovers instead of throwing them away she would kill me!”
Tears began to fall down the neighbor woman’s cheeks and she gently laid her hands on Ruth’s shoulders. And in that moment, she promised she would feed Ruth every day and never tell her step-mother. She kept that promise until the day Ruth left the compound with her family.
As if starving Ruth was not enough, her step-mother flogged her mercilessly until at time she would faint. She would also apply pepper to Ruth’s eyes, armpits and neck, tie her up and leave her in the makeshift outhouse for days without food.
Despite all this abuse, Ruth was very bright academically. She knew that the only way to escape the situation was to achieve educational success, so she set herself to her schooling with a diligent purpose. This diligence has helped Ruth escape her poverty and given her the chance to study law in college.
The little girl on the streets, starving and abused, has grown into a brilliant young woman. But most importantly, she has come to know her savior, Jesus Christ, through one of the evangelical outreaches.
In Ruth’s own words, she says: “I have every right to be hateful, bitter, jealous, arrogant, sad, negative and toxic but I chose not to because of the teaching about the grace and favor of God you have been sharing with me.”