Africa has more than 14 million aids orphans
Every second a person dies from hunger
Every 15 seconds some dies of cancer
Every 30 seconds someone is kidnapped and becomes a child soldier
Within 48 hour a runaway child is 90% likely to be trafficked into prostitution
….By the time it took me to write this- something bad has surely happened to someone somewhere.
But that someone isn’t just anyone. That is my family. Jesus redefined the family. He made citizenship irrelevant. He has made me hear statistics differently. 2 billion of my cousins are starving while I get to be picky and choose what I like to eat. 33.4 million kin of mine outside these borders are living with an incurable disease, while I have pristine hospitals to go to when I cough funny. This year alone over 35,000 of my sisters will be raped for money while I sit behind the comforts of a double blot lock.
The way Jesus defines it there is no Us/Them. Those are our family members. It is all Us. This makes the problem Ours, not ‘Theirs and We will help if We are able’. The way Jesus reads it the statistics end up something like this: I have a sister out there who is being whittled away from life to death, by AIDS. I have a daughter who lives everyday with sweaty horny men on top and inside of her, though she is only 9. I have a son who is without parents and who is a two-mile walk from water that will keep him alive today so the diarrhea might kill him tomorrow. I have a brother who is kidnapped as a thirteen-year-old and then forced to murder as a part of a wondering army as he awaits to be killed himself. I have a mother who never learned to read and never got to enjoy or share with the world all the talents she could have. I have a family that needs my help.
What is my idol? What is holding me back? The comforts of home. The air conditioning and running water. Not having to live through attacking centipedes or fumble through conversations in half-creole as I learn the language. Rainstorms that wash away parts of the house and leak roofs that make the mattress on the ground soggy. Having a safe-haven, and a double-bolted lock.
Frank Kafka once said “You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.”
Can I make a difference? Heck yes I can. How can a single drop of water see the good it is doing in the garden? It cannot. But I can make a difference in one life, one family, one community…. Who knows how far two loving arms can stretch? Jesus does. So I will strive to be like Him and open my two arms as wide as they will go to welcome in my family.
“It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place will never be with those cold timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt