This is one of those posts that I’m pretending as if I’m writing to you but I’m really writing to myself. I’m giving myself permission to engage without engaging. To be free to connect. I really do want this for you too. I want it for all of us, but I know I need to hear this and that’s why I’m writing down for all the world to see.
Yesterday there was an ad for “The Drop Box.” It’s a documentary about infants who are being abandoned by their parents into these special incubators. This is an attempt to prevent parents from abandoning their children in places like dumpsters or parks. I’ll admit, I’ve seen the ad for this film before but under much different circumstances.
When I first saw it, I was excited because Caleb and I were planning on adopting from China. I was exited to feel like I was a part of the solution. “The Drop Box” isn’t based in China (Korea, actually) but there is a similar movement happening there. I felt at ease and a peace about it all. There was hope and we were going to be a part of that. I guess if I’m honest, in retrospect the hope was coming from feeling like I was controlling the situation. Regardless, I felt really good about myself.
Now, I feel like a jerk. Caleb and I are no longer planning to adopt from China and have instead switched to a domestic program. When I saw the announcement for the film to be released soon, I immediately wrote it off. Why would I go see a film that has nothing to do with me? I caught myself thinking this thought. Thinking that it’s pointless and then I noticed something. A feeling that sucks. Guilt. Bleh. I felt this immediate flash of guilt when I saw the ad for the film. I felt guilty that I was no longer a part of this solution. The guilt made me want to avoid the topic altogether.
Then I realized that I couldn’t be more wrong.
Have you ever been hurt or wronged? Maybe it was a childhood event or something in the distant past. Whatever it is, when you want to share it with someone special to you, someone that you trust, do you expect them to “fix it?” No, of course not. The past can’t be changed. We share our stories to be heard, understood, known, connected.
When I choose to ignore a story of the oppressed, I’m robbing them of an opportunity to simply be heard.
Here’s what else I’m doing. I’m missing the possible opportunity to live my life for something more. I’m also missing the opportunity to be well-informed. How can I possibly expect to make sound political decisions as a voter if I’m not in touch with what is going on in the world around me? Sure, I may not actually go to Taiwan and adopt a baby but maybe my view of international relations will change in some way. Maybe my views of biological parents who give-up their children for adoption will change.
Maybe God will use my new knowledge as a preparation for something in the future.
All I know is this: we are called as children of God to be ministers of reconciliation. We are called to care for the oppressed. We are called to be ready to be called. We need to be willing to hear the voices of the suffering.
So next time I encounter a PSA about some sort of hardship going on, maybe I will listen instead of ignoring the issue and assuming that I am powerless to help in any way. Maybe I will allow that person to be heard, even if listening is all I am called to in that situation. So maybe I can engage without assuming I must actually engage. Because what I know matters. Then I must be open to how God may want to use that. It may simply be for my own sanctification. To become aware and in-tune with the suffering of the world as He was. That sounds scary I know. But never forget that our God is one of Hope. We can hear of tragedy and know that His Kingdom will be restored.
Don’t be afraid to listen.
“For you were not given a Spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”