I've been trying to abolish a phrase from my life as of late. I no longer want to use it. I no longer think it is of God. I don't think it is redemptive in any way. I don't think it is Kingdom minded. It embodies all of what i don't want to be. It is subtle in how it creeps up on me though. It's this phrase:
- IMPLIED STATEMENT: Um.. sucks to be you.
- IMPLIED FALSE TRUTH: Humanity is not connected. Your problems don't affect me.
- WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: I don't have time for you or your problems.
- TRASH: I keep running into trash. I ran into some when I kicked it on my way to work last Sunday. I almost hit a wood chair on the freeway today. This new motto of mine, means that I had to stop and pick both of them up. Neither of them were my fault. Neither of them were "my problem" technically. But, do I really want to drive safely past a chair in the freeway, assuming everyone else will avoid it and it's the cops job to get it out of the lane? Who is supposed to pick up cups in the street? Lately... it's been my job. Because it is my problem.
- TEACHING: I can no longer let myself or my students get away with the idea that the problems in the world are not our problem. AIDS is not Africa's problem, it's humanities. So is poverty and child abuse and bigotry and racism and hatred and neglect and you name it... broken systems lead to broken lives and as a God fearing follower of Jesus, I can't ignore the pain around me. I recently watched an interview with Desmond Tutu who said that "all life is interconnected. " He spoke of how humanity is humanity. Race, continents, economic status... all of it cannot separate us from the fact that we are all connected. Intimately, inexplicably, and irreversibly. We all must care. Paul calls us to "mourn with those who mourn, and rejoice with those who rejoice." That means everyone matters.
- DO SOMETHING: I can't solve all problems in the world. But I can do my part. Lately my pastoral role has led me to help a few women in our church whose problems are large enough that it would be easier to write them off, as not my problem. But I cannot. And because of those in the Kingdom of God who refuse to just leave them wounded, they are better today. Not because of me. But because of a redemptive community. Because of that a mentally unstable woman has found a group of caring friends and some help. Because of that mindset, a young teenage girl is no longer homeless, but instead part of a caring family. But while I don't know that I have changed the tide of sin and it's consequences in our world today, I do know that I have been used by God to affect a life or two for Him. I'm striving to do what I can do and pray that God fills in the big gaps in the stuff I cannot do.