We applaud, cheer and post incessantly on movies and songs that speak of the worth of the broken. We pour money into watching people play a character whose told they should be ashamed of who they are, but in the end shuts down shame with courage. We make quotes and photos of those we call brave who dare to sing, “This is me!” Yet in this very good use of creativity, we have somehow fallen into categorizing which brokenness is worth our fight and which is not.
Too often the enjoyment of a well worded song, or a good message in a film is where the action ends. A right response to effective creativity should propel us into action in the real world, not simply let us escape it for a moment. We need to move from applause for the pretend, to living for the rescue of the real life broken. We need to stop attempting to make ourselves great (again? Were we ever?) and start making choices that see and selflessly respond to the bruised, the broken, the ones fleeing from suffering and evil…no matter where they are coming from.
Our own greatness is NOT above anyone else’s. America’s richness and freedom have caused too many of us to assume greatness, wealth and safety are rights to be maintained at the cost of others, both within and outside of our borders.
Our response to those who have fled from countries south of the border is not a new one. We have responded this way to those we consider as “others” for hundreds of years. Yet somehow, each new “other” is different than the last, or so we seem to keep telling ourselves. Children in foster care are (rightly) removed from violent and abusive homes. We post about how messed up the system is, yet, instead of having plenty of safe homes and loving arms to turn too, we have far too few. These “other” children in the system are looked at skeptically, as if they must have somehow done something wrong to be there. Men, woman and children without homes are viewed as irresponsible, addicts and lazy. People demand, at times, for something to be done for these “others,” yet when a shelter is to be built, the proposed community rises up against it instead of welcoming the needy to their own back yard. Add to these the issue of ethnicity and race, and you have a whole other dichotomy of shame, abuse, and wrongs to right.
When parents choose to flee their own country with their children because of violence, we should welcome their hurt, their brokenness, and their pain. We should be ready to applaud their bravery to flee from a place that tells them they are not worthy, that they don’t matter. Instead, we feel threatened and tell them to “hide away, we don’t want your broken parts.” In our fear we incarcerate them, separate them from their children, and criminalize them for the violence done to them; all the while soothing our conscience by speaking shameful words like, “Well, their entering illegally,” or “They must have done something to deserve this.”
Yes, kindness will cost us. Yes, kindness will mean we have less. Yes, it will mean our children have less. But when have things or money ever been what our children actually need? Our children need us; they need our time, they need our words, they need our love, they need our sacrifice and they, just as you and I, need Jesus.
Show your children sacrifice and you will show them that every single human being on this earth is of equal value and equal worth. Show them cheerful sacrifice and your children will understand true love. When you live in a way that shows your kids what taking in and giving up for the good of someone else looks like, they will see and know Jesus. Sacrificial love is what He does, and what we all need.
“Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.”(MSG)
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (ESV) James 1:26-27
So play those good songs. Watch those well done movies. When your kids tease you about how you tear up every time “This is Me” comes on your playlist, use it to tell them why. Tell them it’s because the world doesn’t work this way and you really wish it did. Use it as a time to pray, to explain your own brokenness, to share how you spend your money beyond yourself, and why you use the space you have for others…even when it means your kids will never have their own room. Allow creativity to inspire, not to be an end point. When the world doesn’t have open arms, you absolutely can and must.
(Our latests inspiration: The Greatest Showman. Still have that music blaring almost every care ride…)
*Ways to take action: Follow @preemptivelove @fosterlovela @penandnapkinorg @wewelcomerefugees @thejusticeconference @beabridgebuilder
These are all people doing the work of sacrifice and love well. They have many ways you can tangibly help through your time, finances, homes, or support.