It’s not JUST about the kids
I read an article recently about a mother who intentionally drove her minivan off a bridge and into a river with her 4 children in the vehicle. Perhaps you read it? Her 10 year old child was able to escape by opening a power window and swimming to shore. Her other 3 kids were less fortunate. The police later recovered the bodies of her 11 month old daughter, her 2 year old son, and her 5 year old son – all still strapped into their car seats.
But there are lots of these types of stories in our world. It happens far more than we care to know. More recently the Casey Anthony case was front page. Now I don’t presume to know if she is innocent or guilty, but the public outrage about this incident was around the fact that we intuitively understand as humans that a person must have crossed some absolutely deplorable lines in order to kill their own child – simply to be able to enjoy a different lifestyle, or to not be inconvenienced by motherhood. People who would do such a thing should be (must be) locked up.
There is something terribly wrong with a person who would do something like this. No one would deny it. Something innately disturbing has gone wrong with the wiring of a person for their mental condition to become this depraved…and selfish.
But allow me to take this a step further…if you will
Imagine for a second that this case was more passive. In other words, lets assume that instead of purposefully killing her kids, a person merely didn’t intervene in a situation whereby their child was in life or death danger. For example, if a mother watched as her child fell in a pool, and didn’t immediately jump in to save her child. Suspend your disbelief for a second and imagine how you would deal with a parent who allowed their kid to drown in a pool…when they had the ability to do something to intervene, but didn’t. How would our court system deal with this kind of person?
We would agree that something would need to be wrong with such a person? Something deeply wrong. The condition of their heart was simply not in line with what we know to be true of any normal compassionate human being. We lock these people up, or at least send them away for help!
But what if it was someone else’s kid?
Let take this one step further….and ask ourselves….if I was at the pool and I saw your toddler fall in, and you weren’t around… what would you expected me to do? Well of course, you would expect me to jump in right? In fact, if I didnt jump in, and the child drowned, you would consider me a despicable human being. A human being who would not intervene in this situation would have to have something incredibly wrong with their natural human condition to be able to simply walk by and not help this child.
Imagine watching me, watching your child die on the video footage from the pool security camera. Imagine the rage you would have…the inability to understand how I would just stand there. How would you view me as a person?
Lets say I defended my actions by explaining that I was late for work. Or had my best suit on? Or had the right to not be inconvenienced? Suppose I said that I didn’t think it was my job to save the kid? Would that change your assessment of my condition? Or would the fact that I was running late for work serve as no real defense? Would any defense change your assessment? I saw the danger, I had the means to intervene, and I didn’t act.
We would all agree that any person who would walk by a helpless person in need and not provide them assistance has something inherently wrong with them. We lock people like this away…and rightly so.
Its not JUST about the kids
As we speak with people who call themselves Christians every day about the 29,000 kids starving to death daily around the world, it has become apparent that some people seem to think that our cause is entirely about our particular love for orphans.
We hear comments like
But I think it is important for me to explain, that as much as my heart bleeds for these orphaned and hungry kids (kids just like my own kids – who cry when they stub their toes, are afraid of the dark, who just need to sit on my lap to be comforted), my heart is equally burdened with something even more concerning. What does the fact that 29,000 kids starve to death every day while we eat Big Macs say about us – His church – and about the condition of our hearts.
You see, my passion on this issue is not actually just about these kids. My concern is not just for their stomachs. Yes, I desire to see them clothed and fed and loved. But if I am honest, the truth is that I am equally concerned for us….the American church…..who as a people walk by these kids on a daily basis (29,000 times over). I am concerned for what this says about the condition of our hearts. I’m concerned about how our God, looking in, views us as we watch 29,000 kids fall in the proverbial pool. Daily.
Our God put it this way in 1 John 3:17
“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”
If we are the type of people who would not (do not) intervene as the helpless and hurting of our world starve to death, how on earth can we claim that we have the love of Christ in us? Something would be wrong with a person that claimed to love God and love people, but didn’t care enough about starving kids to act.
Jesus isn’t suggesting that it would be favorable, or good, or right for someone to sell their possessions and give to the poor. He is not making a vague suggestion to certain people who have the “gift of giving” that they should exercise that gift in love of others. He is not insinuating that just some of us who feel moved by orphans should try and make a difference.
He is saying that if you are the kind of person that would walk by a child or any human being in an absolutely helpless state (a child dying of hunger or thirst) and you would not help that person or walk on by
there MUST be something missing in you.
And that something is Him!
The Love of Christ cannot possibly be present in a person, who walks by another human being in need and doesn’t do anything about it. Not convinced? Read James 2:14-17. If you have been baptized with him into death and you no longer live but Christ lives in you, how can the love of Christ not be actively demonstrating itself in how you love others? That wouldn’t make sense? We would question that faith. Or, like James, simply call it dead.
Well they aren’t my words! And frankly, I don’t like them either. I have all kinds of plans for my life other than jumping in a swimming pool with my suit on. But it is what He said, and I really don’t have a choice. My comfort and possessions vs. these kids lives is not even an option to discuss. And if it were my kid I would certainly expect that much from you too.
And so the issue…the fear, the concern…is not only about how these kids will be clothed and fed, but as much about what is wrong with us. If He is in us, and if we no longer live but Christ lives in us (Gal 2:20), how is it that the love of Christ is not manifestly present in our hearts, and in our desires, and in our actions to take care of these children?
Chatting on the Pool Deck
When we speak about selling what we have for the poor, and caring for the least of these, there are always questions of scope and degree that come up.
Like: “well just how much are we supposed to give away” and “well are you saying its bad for me to have a $15,000 savings account… isn’t it good to be wise with what God has given us?”
I cant help but feel like I am having a conversation with some people on the side of the pool about whether God would want us to jump in. And this, after 29,000 kids just fell in, and 29,000 bodies were pulled out yesterday. Not to mention the 29,000 lined up at the gate. Its insane! It doesn’t make any sense.It is not the response of a person who has been bought at a price, and who loves their God more than their possessions.
I know these are abrasive words. I know that I am likely to offend some by saying them. But they must be said – in Love. We must be willing to self examine on this issue. Our King wasn’t afraid to discuss our money. And he certainly wasn’t afraid to tell us what to do with it.
And if the love of God isn’t in us?
Again, don’t shoot the messenger. But I think scripture is entirely clear about this one too.
- Whether you read Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus separates out those who did and did not take care of the orphans, the hungry, the poor and the broken and tells them that because they neglected to care for the least of these, that they in effect neglected to love Him. He tells them plainly:
“Depart from me you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels”
- Or the parable about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) where the rich man who neglects to care for the begger finds himself across a great Chasm from the poor man and Abraham. The scripture says he was in “Hades, where he was in torment…”
- Or in James 2 where he claims that a proclamation of Faith without deeds (or acts of mercy towards the poor – in context) is DEAD.
This is by no means unclear friends. If we do not have the love of Christ in our hearts for those who are in need, then we are deceived, and He is not in us, and we are not in Him. And the result is eternal. And its NOT VAGUE!
And is this so strange?
Wouldn’t we lock up someone who didn’t give a rip about our children? Wouldn’t we consider this just? If you called yourself my friend but watched my kid die in front of your eyes would I not question our friendship?
Would you not want me locked up if I just watched as your kid drowned? Well where do we suppose this sense of justice came from? AND WHY ON EARTH SHOULD THIS BE ANY DIFFERENT FOR A CHILD ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD? Are they less important? Less lovable? Less Gods children?
My heart is broken for these kids, but crushed for a people who claim to love Jesus but cannot see that to love him means to follow him to the cross, and give up our lives for others.
Sounds like salvation by works to me….
Sounds a lot like you are saying that we are saved by works? If we don’t take care of orphans we dont receive Gods Grace? It sure sounds like you are saying that doing these things can make us right with God?
I am saying that if we are in fact saved by God, if we are right with him, if the spirit does indwell us, if we are his church, how can these deeds POSSIBLY NOT BE IN US? How can we possibly keep walking on by? How can we not act? How can we not expect each other to act? I am calling a people who claim to know Him to show they know Him, by following his commands. And I am calling myself to the same.
We must be willing to stop justifying our savings accounts, our assets, our vacations and our luxurious lifestyles while the world starves? We must be willing to take a long look at our allegiance to a King who was willing to die for others….and jump in the freakin’ pool.
I posted this video in my last Blog, but it is worth plugging in here again. I pray it impacts you like it has me.