Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ramblings - Compassion Hurts...

Well, it didn't take long, and I'm really not surprised. I've only been back in Alajuelita for a little over a week; and God has broken my heart once again.

Yesterday, I was awakened by a phone call from Bernie. He begins the conversation by telling me that he needs my help; or more specifically, he knows a family that needs my help. He gives a quick explanation of the situation, and asks if I would be willing to go with him to visit the family. I agree to go and ask "when do you want to go?". "Right now", is the reply. I suddenly realize that Bernie is standing out front of my house. I guess he wasn't planning to take no for an answer.

We arrived at a small walkway, in a poor neighborhood, in a shady part of town. We followed the walkway to a small, unfinished house and were greeted by a young lady.

She looked to be in her mid-twenties, and was wearing a fake smile. It was obvious that she was tired and worn. I can't help but notice her hollow eyes. It's been said that the eyes are a window to the soul. I think I'm starting to understand that more clearly through my encounters here. In her arms was a beautiful, three month old baby, and hiding behind her legs were two of the cutest children you've ever seen.

Her story is the same as so many young women here in Alajuelita. She is a young unwed mother of three. She has no job, no house, and no way to provide for her children. She has no plans, prospects, or hope for the future.

I really wish that I could tell you that at this particular moment I was overwhelmed with love and compassion, but it was just the opposite. I found myself thinking, "She has obviously made some seriously bad decisions, and she is now facing the consequences. She is getting exactly what she deserves! Why should I help her? It probably won't make a difference, she will probably only take advantage of my kindness."

Then, almost audibly, the Holy Spirit whispers, "Do you love her? Can you love her like I do?" My mind instantly goes to Christ and His perfect love. A love without condition, a love that was full of action and sacrifice. I can feel my heart breaking, not because of her condition, but because of mine.

A study of the gospels will show that Christ never refused anyone help, even when it was inconvenient or culturally incorrect; He lovingly came to the rescue. His love compelled Him to associate with lepers, drunks, thieves, and prostitutes. Even though He knew exactly who they were, what they had done, and what they were going to do, He lovingly came to the rescue. He healed ten lepers knowing only one would turn back to say thank you. They were ungrateful, but Christ loved. Peter denied, but Christ loved. Thomas doubted, but Christ loved. Saul persecuted, but Christ loved.

He also knows me perfectly! He knows about all of my foolish mistakes. He knows about my idols and doubts. He knows about my fears and lack of faith. He knows about my self-righteous pride, and somehow, He loves me!

So, today, Alexis and I will go and try to be Christ to this small family. We will attempt to help meet some of the physical and spiritual needs. We will deliver food, medicine, clothes, tracts, and Bibles. We will kiss the unclean, and love the unlovely. She may not deserve my love, but I will choose to give it freely, as it was freely given to me. I didn't deserve to be loved by Christ, but He lovingly came to my rescue.

In closing, please pray for us. Pray that God will continue to break our hearts, and place us in situations that will challenge us. Pray that He will increase our capacity to love others as ourselves. I'll pray the same for you.