This morning I sat in church in my shiny gold pants, coffee cup in hand, completely unprepared for my heart to be wrecked, as I was reminded of the situation over in Syria, and of the church’s call to respond. At the end, the last song had been sung, the music had ended, everyone was leaving, and I didn’t even want to move out of my seat. I just wanted to linger in this moment of raw surrender. Somehow I just knew that the last hour of my life was significant. Like an awakening of sorts.
My mind re-wound back to the past few days in which I had been reading up on the true news stories about the Syrian refugee families who are part of the 5% of their country who will not bow to Allah but have surrendered to Christ and claimed Christianity and have been forced to flee their homeland to literally escape being butchered by those whose intent it is to rid the world of all Christ followers. And now, the children of these refugee families are literally freezing and starving to death out in open air refugee camps with no where to go.
I don’t care who you are, if that doesn’t make you want to run to wrap them up, you need to check your pulse.
I realized God has been opening my eyes to the truth of the situation as I had been researching it in the preceding days, preparing my heart for an awakening of sorts.
Let me be clear, I am the girl who boldly proclaimed my opinion just three weeks back on social media that the United States should not take the refugees into our country due to safety concerns. Even still, I am honestly not qualified or smart enough to figure out a way to make that whole idea work.
All I know is, right there in the seat of a comfortable American church, my heart broke in two. Not only for the tragic state of these marginalized people, whether they are actually our enemies or our brothers and sisters in Christ; but my heart broke for the state of my very American heart.
When I got honest enough to pull back the shiny exterior of myself and take an honest peek into my heart, what I saw was a heart that has all too easily become so enamored with earthly pursuits and all things that glitter that I don’t have the room or time to enter into the suffering of an entire world that needs mercy.
Maybe in order to numb my conscience from deeply caring about the rest of the world I have been choosing not to truly see that I have been telling myself, “They got themselves into this mess” or “Somebody can deal with the wreckage, but not me.”
But the truth I haven’t been able to run from is the truth that I have gotten myself into some pretty awful messes, and Jesus never once walked away and left me there in the dirt because I deserved the mess I had made for myself.
He showed me mercy. Every time. Even when I was this woman….
With mascara streaked face, shiny pants and all, I repented of the same sin of a prideful and self-righteous heart that the Pharisees of Jesus day were known for. Right then and there I needed to admit the truth that an apathetic heart is no better than those who terrorize the innocent when we knowingly turn away from human suffering, even if an entire world away from our own. -John 8
The realization hit me smack dab in the face that I have all too easily become too comfortable in self-righteous complacency to really care about many people further than a 200 mile radius from my own heart. Could it be that my patriotism to America, a country I just happened to be born into, has become an idol I’ve erected in my heart that trumps the Jesus who rescued my life from complete chaos and death?
This is not the time nor the place for political rants fueled by a media whose primary goal is to fuel fear and division. And yet, Christ followers sit in our comfortable homes behind brightly lit screens and type words onto screens….sure that we are right and they are wrong.
That isn’t bold. Bold is those who leave the comfort of the “American dream” to suffer with those who suffer, or those who forgo a few niceties so there is margin in our budgets to give to those who genuinely know what it’s like to be in need.
As for me, I haven’t been being bold or brave and I sure don’t have all the answers, but I do know that the state of our hearts and the impact of our lives for the Kingdom of Christ is far more important than selfish ambition and parading around political agendas and opinions based on foolish and flawed opinions of men.
If ever there was a time in our world that the whole world stand in need of ridiculous mercy from those who claim the name of Christ, it is now.
Even the ones who deserve it least.
Because try as we might, we cannot escape this……
What if, just what if, the church became known for things that glitter than had less to do with our nice programs, possessions, and clothing choices, and more for the light of the mercy of Christ that we throw out into a dark and hurting world like handfulls of confetti without pre-judging who deserves it and who doesn’t?
Now that – that could change everything.
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – Matthew 5:13-16