Thursday, November 19, 2015

Choose Your Poison

Of all the posts I've seen against letting Syrian refugees into our country the one that has saddened me the most is one that "explains" the issue in this way: "If you have 10,000 m&ms and you know that 10 of them are poisoned then how many of you would still eat them."  This analogy devalues the lives of these refugees making them as expendable as bad chocolate. Of course we would not choose to eat cheap candy when we know some of it is poisoned - it's just junk anyway. How, oh, HOW can we look on these refugees in the same way??? I hope we see them as more than that.

I believe there are many ways to look at this crisis and how we should respond, legitimate reasons to consider both "sides," but this is not one of them! The power of this argument lies in sucking out all emotion, compassion, and empathy out of the decision which it does by making the object of the debate a thing rather than a person. This kind of dehumanizing tactic is has been used for abortion, slavery, and genocide. Obviously for most of us, even those against letting Syrian refugees into our home countries, our object is not to devalue the lives of these people, but that is why we must be very careful about using this kind of cheap rhetoric. The whole intent of this reasoning is to make the issue seem like a clear, logical choice which only an idiot would deny. But this is not a simple textbook logic problem. And we are not talking about colorful, candy-coated chocolate. These are our brothers and sisters. Our children. These are people.

Perhaps a better analogy would be this: If you are watching a ship with 10,000 people sinking off the coast near your home and you know that 10 of them are serial killers, should you go rescue any of them when you face the risk of bringing a serial killer into your city? Look at that mama trying to hold her baby above the water. Look at the little girl clinging to her teddy bear. Look at that boy trying to help his injured father. Look in their faces. And then make your decision.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Bale, You Are Valued

Sometimes my kids really surprise, bless, and challenge me with their simple acceptance of Truth. Tonight we were praying for "our" little Bale, the little boy at an orphanage over here that we have committed to pray for every day. Katie was praying for him - for him to "get better" and to get a family and she proceeded to thank God for him and for "bringing him into this world."

I may have leaked a few tears and I am ashamed to admit that it hadn't occurred to me to thank God for his life... or the lives of any of the many lonely children who don't have the love of a family. I hadn't thought it consciously, but Katie's prayer opened my eyes to a subconscious devaluing of the lives of orphans, counting them as something like a mistake and a sorrow.

I hate the thought of their suffering and so I have not valued their existence as I should. I have not been thankful for them as people - only sorrowed over them as tragedy. But they are NOT a mistake! These precious ones are as intentionally created, as carefully formed, as beautifully loved, and as sacrificially redeemed as my own fiercely loved children. They are unique, eternal souls that reflect the glory of their Maker in a way that no other person ever could. Their lives have meaning and significance and VALUE.

I never consciously thought the opposite; in fact I thought that I did value them and that was why I was praying for them and seeking to care for them in other ways. But I hadn't thanked God for them. I hadn't given Him glory for His amazing creation, displayed specially in each one. That changed tonight, thanks to my little Katie Grace. 

The tragedy of the situation of orphans lies not in their existence, but in the circumstances that led to them being orphaned. It lies in the oppression and abuse and neglect that haunts them now. It lies in the corruption and selfishness that swallow up resources that should be used to care for them. But it NEVER lies in their person. They are treasures and from now on I will THANK God for their lives!