Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Undeserving

Many of my posts to this journal have focused on the hurting and the needy. Sometimes focusing on my neighbor next door. Sometimes focusing on my neighbor half a world away. It is of the latter that my heart is turned at this entry. I've been pondering my involvement with the organizations I support and asking myself is it enough. It will never be enough, but has my heart become content with my efforts. I fear in recent months it has as we have turned our focus inward toward our own adoption challenges.

Through this introspective reflection, I have been poignantly made aware of the vicious and demonic presence still at large in the lands that I support works of relief and hope. This week I learned of a seven year old child that was murdered by a family member who then committed suicide. No good reasoning was given. This little boy was dear to the workers at the carepoint who regularly fed and cared for him, even becoming one of their "favorite" children. The entire carepoint is devastated. The other children all knew him, played with him. A beautiful smile, a beautiful life, extinguished. Even half a world away I struggle to understand why. I desire to help.

God dropped this into my spirit as I reflected on these events. Supposing, I in all of my American affluence did help. I, having more privilege, more freedom, and more material blessing than most people on this earth will ever know in their natural lives, pooled my resources and I was able to put forth a relief effort of some magnitude. Sounds good doesn't it? Doesn't sound unrealistic - one of the ministries I support is doing just that, sending a team in a matter of weeks to Swaziland. Now suppose that rather than go myself, I send my son. For this illustration's sake, he is grown. Now I can honestly tell you that I have never seen a boy with a bigger heart for others than my son. I am astounded at his compassion and love for others and he is only nine years of age. My pride in him swells my heart and my love for him moves me very nearly to tears. He is truly the apple of my eye and I am honored to be his father, honored to have a part in his upbringing, and I know I will be proud of the man he will become.

Now my son, endowed with the good will and the considerable resources our culture and fund raising efforts, heads to these far off lands to minister. He brings clothing, he brings supplies, he brings desperately needed food, he brings equipment for building water purification wells - something desperately needed throughout east/central Africa. He brings coloring books and crayons for the kids, backpacks, shoes and schools supplies. He brings funds to put kids in school, which is for most their only way out of poverty and death. My son brings life, he brings hope, he brings a future. It would stand to reason that my son would be well received, wouldn't? It would make sense that every place his feet touched down, life and freedom would follow.

What if instead, when he arrived, he was brutally murdered - his body left in the bush for the animals to devour. The resources and goods brought with him stolen and scattered with only a fraction of the intended recipients actually benefitting from our months of hard work stateside. How would his mother and I cope with the loss, the devastation? Would I be justified to never consider those barbaric people again, to harbor them ill will for the rest of my natural days? To never send another cent in support of the people that did this to my child - my first born son? What if this were your child? How would your world unravel?

Consider that God sent his Son, the very apple of His eye, from royalty and unimaginable glory, to an impoverished and dying earth, to a people in deperation. He sent him to bring life, hope, and a future, and they killed him. Their sin killed him, my sin killed him, your sin killed him, we all killed him. This is why we are admonished in the Word to "judge not". There is not one of us who has the slightest minuscule right to look down our noses and judge another person, judge their heart, or their motives. Only God knows the heart. Certainly we will know people by the fruit of their lives, but love is to be the over riding motivation in everything we do. We have no recourse to judge, for when we start down this path, we are on shaky ground, we who like the one we are judging, put our savior on the cross with our own sin.

The good news is, we are not undeserving wretches, cowering before an angry God still enraged that his Son was nailed to a cross for our sakes. Because of this willful sacrifice of ultimate love, we are now all of us adopted sons and daughters, joint heirs with our risen Savior if we'll have him as Lord in our lives. We are no longer the undeserving, we are the favored children of the King. As children, we are emulate his character and foremost in his character is love, grace, and mercy towards the undeserving.

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