Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Art of Caring - Mere Christianity 101 (Part 2)

If it’s true, and it is, that our actions speak much louder than our words, then it behooves us to ensure that our actions scream love at the tops of our “voices.” We must become so selfless in our actions that people are forced, albeit grudgingly, to admit that there really is something positively different about Christians. We appear to have made it our consuming purpose to ensure that people become Christians at all costs, but is that really our calling? According to the Scriptures the work of conviction and conversion is done by the Holy Spirit, while the work of serving, loving, caring, and giving is done by the Body of Christ. This would seem to suggest that, in order to demonstrate God’s love we must be present in the lives of people, especially when they are at their worst. Being present in people’s lives means that we must genuinely give ear and attention to the things that consume them and potentially hinder them from seeing, accepting, and embracing God’s love.

I’d previously indicated that two separate but equally profound events informed this two part blog, of which we discussed one in some detail yesterday. Today I’d like to examine the second event which was brought to my attention. Since the Haitian catastrophe in which hundreds of thousands of lives were lost, a well known Hollywood actor has made it his consuming passion, largely at his personal expense, to help rebuild and restore not just the infrastructure of the country but the lives of the people that make up that country. Recognizing that without people a country is merely a piece of land dotting natures landscape, Sean Penn has moved to Haiti indefinitely and is tirelessly investing himself in restoring hope.

Carefully navigating the political landscape, red-tape, and all the potential pitfalls that inevitably surround a tragedy of this magnitude, Sean lives in and operates out of a pup tent in a tent city he himself is responsible for building. Regardless of his political persuasions, in spite of his theological leanings or lack thereof, Sean is convinced that people matter, and so he considers it a most valuable investment of his time and resources to help people rebuild their lives, this no less in a country in which he has no stake other than the fact that they are fellow travelers through life’s arduous journey. What could be more altruistic than that?

Here’s a quote from Major General Simeon Trombitas, of the U.S. army who is a frequent guest at Sean’s tent city:

“My politics are not in line with Sean Penn’s, but we are allied in trying to save lives and alleviate human suffering. He is a doer and not a talker…and I respect that immensely.”

Lieutenant General P.K. Keen, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command, declared:

“In a humanitarian crisis you can be a neutral—always pinching your knuckles white. Or you can operate an NGO the way Mr. Penn does…. He intuitively knew how to both work with the U.N. and break its bureaucracy down…. I applaud the leadership he has shown. He doesn’t have to do this.”

There’s so much more I could write here but you’re better served reading the entire article by Vanity Fair in their July issue right here. Now compare and contrast the reaction of the “e-mail lady” who professes Christ, whom I referenced in yesterdays post, with this report about someone who doesn’t even profess to be a Christ-follower, and you decide which reaction seems to represent the love of Christ. Just my two cents!!!


Hope R. Clark said...

To compare the two situations is such honest, raw, revealing truth. It's embarrassing and motivating, frustrating and hopeful, hurtful and emotional. No wonder God's name is an explitive today... we, His people, have made it such.