I spoke to Galen last night. He got back from Haiti Saturday evening. He had an amazing, life changing experience. Now he’s struggling with reverse culture shock, annoyed with people’s lack of concern toward what’s happening in Haiti and other poor nations.
I encouraged him to remember to love the people around him wherever he is. After all, we are all poor in one way or another, some materially, some spiritually. He agreed.
Later in the evening, I went out for ice cream and coffee with some people down on the beach. As we sat at the table, a woman approached asking us something in Spanish. I squirmed in my seat as I turned my head away from her. I was fairly sure she was begging. I pretended she wasn’t there until she moved on to the next table. I was annoyed from that moment until we got up and left.
This morning, I got up and read Luke 6. There, in glaring neon letters, Jesus shouted:
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
The Word is sharper than a double edged sword. I was cut to a deeper place than I’ve been in a very long time. It was like Jesus was shouting, “How can you give out spiritual wisdom to your son and not apply it in your own life Michelle!?”
Something happened to me when I returned to the USA that first time from Haiti. I decided the homeless didn’t deserve my love because they had no idea what poverty really is. I decided to judge them guilty.
When I read those words today, I heard Jesus say give to everyone who begs from you NOT give to those you think deserve it. What happened to me? How could I be so wrong? How can I go to Africa and love on people so easily, yet turn my back on a whole other set of people who need to be loved on just as badly? How many times over these last few years have I turned my back on Jesus?
My heart broke as I read these words of my Savior. It’s a good thing. I needed to feel that pain in order to repent.
Today, I spent the day out in town with another friend. I told her what happened this morning. Confession keeps me honest. On our way back to the ship, we went to a supermarket. Outside, a homeless man approached us speaking Spanish. I assume he was asking for change. I didn’t turn away. I didn’t wonder whether he deserved help or not. I just reached into my bag and pulled out 1€. As I dropped the coins into his hand, he said, “Gracias. Dios te bendiga.” (Thank you. God bless you.)