Two days ago my oldest daughter fell and sprained her ankle. Enter: Mom. I have never actually seen a woman who is nine months pregnant escorting a hopping child and two hyperactive rascals behind, but I can imagine that it is probably quite a sight to see.
After a day’s worth of ice packs, doctors, x-rays, and picking up crutches, she is getting along pretty well. I don’t think I could walk with sticks but she seems to have figured it out for the most part. Still, her good sport spirit and adaptive nature is not what surprised me the most. Her sisters are. Remember those two little rascals I mentioned following in tow earlier? They have become her “servants.” The littlest one always says she is going to be a butler when she grows up. I’m starting to think she’d make a good one. Truly, my six and eight year-old have waited on their big sister hand and foot. She even has a bell to ring when she needs something.
I say I’m surprised because I generally rely on the oldest for help. She is my sidekick. The little ones generally do not have much interest in anything besides playing ponies or bathing Barbie. I suppose it is my fault for not asking as much of them. It makes me happy to know they are willing to help when they are needed.
The helpful atmosphere in my home the past couple days got me to thinking about the hurting brothers and sisters we are facing right now. The Syrian people are related to us by a bond called humanity. They are injured, oppressed, and running for their and their families’ lives. I may not be very well-versed in foreign affairs or political gains, but I know human need when I see it. I am a Christian, after all. It is a call second only to sharing the gospel for me to recognize and respond to the needs of others.
I try to see the other side of this thing. I understand why people are afraid. But all I can I keep thinking of is how disappointed I would be in my children if they were not willing to help each other. I keep thinking of how proud I am of them for taking care of their sister when she needs assistance. And then I look up at the news and I see a staunch unwillingness to serve people in desperate need in the name of self-preservation.
Isn’t that just like us? It is me-first in the not so united kingdom we call the United States of America. In the kingdom of God, however, it is what I say five times a day to my now living it out children – others first.
Do others have the potential to hurt us deeply despite our kindness toward them? They do. Might they take great advantage of our generosity? They may. Can they even go so far as to return evil for good? They can. Is there any way to ensure appreciation and reciprocation of the good we do to others when they are in need? Absolutely not. But that is not even a relevant argument when loving and serving people comes out of a wellspring of gratitude one has for Christ. Get this, Christians. We are not called to help others only when it is safe, convenient, cheap, or easy. As David said, “…I will not make a sacrifice to the Lord which costs me nothing…” My Bible says to love your enemies, do good to them, and pray for those who persecute you. I cannot do that from behind a bullet-proof barricade in my basement.
Isolation is about control. They only people who try to control uncontrollable circumstances are the fearful; the insecure; the deceived; the anxiety-ridden.
I understand the issues. Really, I do. I know fear, insecurity, anxiety, and uncertainty are real factors in the refugee refusal rhetoric. The problem I see for we Christians, though, is that neither fear, nor insecurity, nor uncertainty, nor anxiety is an acceptable excuse to forsake and forego loving and serving those broken and needy Syrian somebodies whom God has placed bare-faced in front of us.
Risk, courage, and personal sacrifice are the very fabric of Christianity, and, in days past, Americanism. King Jesus is our example. He, who wielded the most power of any man who ever lived on earth, forsook that advantage in order to save the lost, hurting, and dying. My God was willing to die for me and, from what his book says, I believe he expects me to be willing, if need be, to lay down my life for his good purposes. Self-preservation is not an option when Christ is our Lord.
Some will hate, terrorize, and kill us despite our love toward them, that much is true. Our job isn’t to figure out who those ones might be. Our job is to love people on behalf of Christ. Who knows who might repent and receive the gospel as a result. If it just so happens to be at our expense, the Bible says that is a blessing for us. The question is, do we really believe it?
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. ~Matthew 5:10-16