Stolen cell phone in the underpants igniting an extreme case of "mob justice."
The end result of an argument gone very bad.
This morning, on rounds, I was handed a crisp, new “orthopedic service list” by one of the Kenyan medical students, an invaluable tool for tracking our many patients scattered throughout the hospital. The List, kept by our hard-working interns and medical students, includes patient names, injuries and treatment plans. As I quickly scanned the list for any new overnight admissions, one patient distinctly caught my eye: Peter Kipkirui, mob justice victim. The patient had multiple injuries inflicted by blows and pangas (machetes) as a result of vigilante justice, meted out by a group of angry Kenyans. “He must have done something pretty bad,” I thought to myself. I asked the two medical students, Mercy and Justus (no joke), what he had done and they showed me a pelvic x-ray demonstrating what they thought was the reason for this swift punishment. A cell phone that the patient had stolen, and stuffed into his underpants, on x-ray, appeared as a rectangular, outlined skeleton of wires and chips. Later, I was called to the operating room to see a patient who was the victim of another kind of “justice” that unfortunately results from the simple equation: liquor + argument + sharp instrument = severe injuries. The man had the most impressive hand panga cut I have ever seen.
To be honest, as a surgeon dealing daily with injuries caused, in some way, by foolishness, carelessness, jealousy, anger, neglect, greed, etc. (essentially sin), I am tempted to lose compassion, and think, in my heart, “they get what they deserve.” Then, I am quickly disciplined by God as he reminds me of the incredible Grace that was given me, i.e. my sins paid for by the blood of his own Son. It’s a good thing I don’t get what I deserve. All of us receive one of two perfect options: justice or mercy. Either we receive just punishment for our sins…or mercy, embodied in the person of Jesus Christ as we come to Him in faith. The Newsboys sing a song with simple, yet profound lyrics: “When we don’t get what we deserve; it’s a real good thing…when we get what we don’t deserve; it’s a real good thing.”
Eph. 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.