"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Are you okay with this?

United Nations health and food organizations calculate that twenty-five thousand people throughout the developing world die every day from starving and malnutrition. Are you okay with this?

There are a hundred thirty thousand children up for adoption at any given time in the United States, and millions more worldwide are without families. Are you okay with this?

A child dies from drinking contaminated water every twenty-three seconds.  Are you okay with this?

That question can be and must be asked of all suffering and every injustice. Are you okay with this?

Most of us are okay with it.  And we're okay with it simply because it's an issue without a name or a face.  We've never held someone who is starving to death.  No one in our family has needlessly died from contaminated water. We don't know anybody who has been kidnapped and sold into slavery.  And none of our family members sleeps on the streets.  But once the issue has a name and a face, it changes everything, doesn't it?  God knows each of those names.


God knows each of those faces. And it breaks His heart.

If you are in Christ and Christ is in you, you cannot be okay with suffering or injustice or starvation. Why? Because His heart is in you. And His heart beats for the suffering, the victim, the poor, and the needy. If you are a Christ follower, then you have been drafted into an army of compassion that knows no enemy but those things that break the heart of God. And it's not okay to not do something about them.


On a personal note, I can attest to how knowing a face and having a name makes these issues more personal.  I used to hear about Muslims in our media - and granted, few who call themselves Muslims have done horrible things - however, can I hate all Muslims, be suspicious of all who follow Islam because of the actions of a few?  Can I dismiss, call as enemies* or simply be apathetic towards all Muslims, all Arabs after having met kindhearted, welcoming people like my blogging friends Lat, Shell, Wafa' and Suroor and those such as Louai, Samer, Amer and others whom I met in Syria?  It's easier to dismiss a group of nameless, faceless people than a group that consists of these dear ones.

This also happened to me when I met Martin, Salvador, Pedro and other Latinos in town. I stopped seeing them all as illegals out to take jobs from Americans and started seeing them as people whom God loves.  Kind of special that this happened after I prayed for God to let me see others through His eyes, eh? It's amazing how His heart of love can change your outlook on others. Give it a try. 

Can anyone relate with an example of her own?

except for my personal note comment, all of the above is quoted  from pg. 20, Primal by Mark Batterson

*  Besides if they are my enemies, I am supposed to love them unless Jesus was just joking about such things. See Matthew 5:44.


Amber said...

'Without individuals we see only numbers: a thousand dead, a hundred thousand dead, "casualties may rise to a million." With individual stories, the statistics become people'

'The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.'

It's not just our distance from the pain and the suffering, it's the sheer numbers of it. Can you imagine a million of anything? I mean really, deep down, get your hands around it and understand just how big that is. And the tiny little intricacies of their lives? How their actions affect or are affected by others? Not really. One person, one person and we can follow the thread, as much as we're ever able to get ourselves out of ourselves. But a million? It's just a number. There's no way to touch it, to feel their pain, or even really empathise with it, because it's unreal to us.

As for your comment, well, yes. Though I've never met a Muslim in person, the ones I've come to know over the internet have made an impact on my perspective of Muslims in general. Similarly, knowing you has made it harder for me to just generalize about Baptists and how bad they are. :) Or with caraboska, the unchurched, random Evangelicals. :) It's one of the things that I find great about blogging and social networking on the internet. We get the chance to meet and speak with people that we never would in our day to day lives.

Lat said...

Oh Susanne! Thank you for being my friend! You were so sweet and I'm humbled by your post!

No one should be okay with this! But the fact is it doesn't come naturally for some or most people to show empathy towards the less fortunate.They always believe that they're enough people doing the jobs needed to fulfill the needs of those who need our care and concern.The fact is it's never enough!No matter how much effort,money etc they put in,these issues don't seem to go away.I pray to God to make things easy for them and bring about much peace and less suffering to the less fortunate.

I believe that much can be done with political involvement which is the main cause for these sufferings.

Susanne said...

Amber, yes, I totallllllllllly understand. When it seems too big, it just, well, seems too hard to help in any way. I think that's why individual stories are good. Individual sponsorships and so forth. It breaks down the needs into bite-size, manageable pieces instead of throwing a huge, huge problem at us to fix. Great comment!

"Similarly, knowing you has made it harder for me to just generalize about Baptists and how bad they are. :)"

Haaaaa! yes, you see how adorable we truly can be, right? *batting my eyelashes while oozing pure charm*

Susanne said...

Lat, I'm thankful for sweet people like you who God has used to give me a more clear, true picture of how things are. :)

I think Amber was right in saying the problem just seems too big, too overwhelming. We might feel sorrow and sadness, but we think "will my $50 really help when there are SO MANY needs?" It makes us feel "why try?"

I like ministries that break down the needs and say "you can support this child and provide medicine for her, schooling, food" and that can be one person I know is helped. Child sponsorship programs are good. Also I've seen some ministries that allow people to buy a goat or chickens for a family so they will have milk and food. I like when projects are put into terms like that. I feel I can buy a goat or mosquito nets or send a kid to school whereas saving all the poor in the world is just way too broad.

Enjoyed your comment!

Wafa' said...

now that's a heart breaking post and i am speechless really.

The world is unfair world and we are here to make it better, to love and to honor each other.

Thanks so much for your amazing post sweetie :)

Susanne said...

Wafa', thank you for taking time to read it. :)