More often than not I scroll right past those pics of starving kids that people share on Facebook. Not because I don’t care about them but because it breaks my heart.
I admit it’s selfish of me to look at a picture of a five year old so thin you can see his ribs, so dirty you can’t tell if he’s wearing clothes and only think of how my heart hurts.
My heart breaks for the suffering of children, that’s why my wife and I became foster parents, it’s why we put an unfair amount of discomfort on ourselves in an effort to help them out. But before you applaud me for being a foster parent (which is what most people do when I tell them) it’s not even close to being enough. We can do more to help ease the suffering of others and we don’t, and chances are that you don’t either.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to judge anyone it’s just that I saw this picture the other day and I couldn’t stop staring at it. For a pic I would normally have scrolled right by I was suddenly caught in a whirlwind of emotion.
At first I only saw the little boy which overwhelmed me with sadness, questions start going through my head, how do we allow this to happen? We call ourselves Christians and still there are children who die of hunger? We throw out enough food to feed this starving world and this photo will do nothing to change that. That innocent child who probably looks younger than he is due to malnutrition and the horrible pains of hunger made me sad, then it made me angry, not at him but at myself and then I became confused. What is happening? Are we really that self centered and that obsessed with our rights that we complain about what so and so said while kids die?
Secondly I noticed the person helping him. So many times you see these kinds of pictures and the workers are smiling at what they’re doing. I don’t know if the smile represents happiness that they’re helping or if it’s a pat yourself on the back kind of smile that says “look at me and how good I am.”
This woman however seems to be right there with him, seeing him where he’s at and although she’s doing a good thing she isn’t congratulating herself she’s just giving water to one of the “least of these.”
This woman whom I do not know nor have I ever met has a lot to say, first she says to the little boy “here, take some water” then “I know there is no food I can put in your belly but maybe the water will help ease the pain for a while” her face says “you will probably die soon, of a hunger that could have been cured, as is usually the case you will probably die with no mother or father around to hold your hand and I’m sorry.”
Like I said I don’t know her or her heart. I don’t know if she’s a Christian or if she’s someone who simply wants to help. What I do know is she is out there helping, she is being the hands and feet of Jesus whether she knows it or not.
Sadly what many Christians will see in this photo is not the starving child, not the woman who is over there sacrificing everything so she can be there in the ground zero of hunger. No, what they will see are her tattoos, and they will try to commend her for her good deeds but then out will come the condemnation for having not one, not two but many, many tattoos.
As if having a tattoo somehow negates what she’s doing. There is one reference in the entire Bible that talks about tattoos and it’s in the Old Testament. It’s not even one of the Ten Commandments and still to this day people take that verse and condemn anyone who’s got ink.
I feel like telling people that we no longer live according to the OT (Old Testament) but more often then not this conversation goes far too theological far too fast. Instead I put it this way, yes the OT says not to get tattoos, it also says not to where clothing made up of two different kinds of fabric, yet today we have no qualms with wearing a shirt that’s 10% percent polyester and 90% cotton but somehow we have a problem with ink.
I don’t have a tattoo, I do not see a future in where I will get one either. However I will not condemn a person for having one or having many because if I’m suddenly going to start living by the OT laws I will have much more to worry about, like where am I gonna get all the animal sacrifices that I’m gonna need to atone for my sins.
Why do we do this? Why do we Christians have this tendency to turn into Pharisees every time we think someone else is doing something they shouldn’t? Jesus made it very clear that we have a new law to follow, the old one has been fulfilled, not that it’s not important but that it’s no longer necessary in order to make us right with God. Jesus did that for us, our new law is based on love and everything we do should filter through Jesus’ teachings not through OT law.
So often we take a look at a photo that clearly says we should be doing more and we get all legalistic on each other. Instead of saying “hey, she’s feeding the hungry, how can we help?” we say “look at those tattoos, is she even a Christian?”
As is the case with most blogs, mine has become somewhat of an online journal. I really appreciate you reading it, my hope is that inspire you to do something more than you already do. My goal is not to take to the Internet and complain about things, it’s to bring to light some of the things that people would rather not talk about.
Children die of hunger and they don’t have to, you and I can help. We may think we are strapped and can’t afford it, but the reality is I spend more on coffee a month than it would take to feed two of these kids. I spend more on restaurants in a week than it would take to feed two more. I’m sure you do too.
Please do not misunderstand, coffee and fine dining or even fast food is not a sin, it’s not wrong. Enjoy what God has blessed you with I simply compare the monthly coffee bill to a hungry child because it hits home. It illustrates that if we can afford coffee we can afford to sponsor one of these kids.
Just think of the teaching moments we can have with our own kids, we can show them a photo of a child who really needs us and how we are helping them.
Look, I don’t work for Compassion International, though I think they are great and the best choice for when you want to sponsor a child. I’m a salesman and all I want is for more kids to get sponsors. I am a blogger and if you’re reading this what you should know is this blog is a window into my soul. I don’t intend to guilt anyone into doing something, I don’t intend to judge or condemn anyone I just think we Americans/Canadians can and should do more to help.
If I’ve triggered an emotion inside of you that compels you to do something to help, please do it! Please share this blog and maybe we can start a movement that isn’t about ourselves but about some kids a half a world away that are longing to know the Jesus that we know.
Thanks for reading.