Why Canada Should Welcome Every Refugee

She walked into Tim Hortons, just after I ordered my coffee; I stood off to the side, waiting for it. With nothing better to do, I entertained myself with people watching, discreetly of course, and she inevitably caught my eye. She looked like she came from ‘that’ part of the world; Middle-East, somewhere. I noted she didn’t quite look the girl taking her order in the eye, quickly glancing down as she dug in her purse. Then up again, but not quite in the eye. She looked shy; nervously uncomfortable. We got our drinks at the same time, and she was now a few steps ahead of me, and seated herself at a lonely little table, tucked in beside a wall. I had a booth not far away. Her eyes, I noted, looked sad or ‘down’. And then I caught myself wondering, What would it feel like to be that woman, to be anyone from the Middle East right now, in a restaurant full of Caucasians… or to look like maybe I was ‘one of them’, regardless of my birth place? And I concluded it must be unsettling, even frightening or shameful; shame for ‘my people’ and atrocities committed by them. My heart was stirred with compassion, and I wished for a moment I could ask to sit with her, but I had a client coming in minutes, and besides, it would be beyond awkward for both of us….

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The title of this blog works much better as a question than as a statement. Why should Canada welcome every refugee? Why should we? Why should USA, for that matter? Or any other country? The truth is, no one should. Because national security is a matter not to be taken lightly, by leaders of a country. And our leaders should think it through carefully, before making decisions.

Emotion-driven ‘help’ and hype-driven ‘compassion’ isn’t compassion. It’s guilt. And it’s not about the refugees. It’s about us. If a moment of emotional response, at seeing a toddler washed up on shore, is the sole driving force for me–as an individual or leader– to say, “Bring them in by the masses!” Then we are utterly selfish, not to mention entirely foolish. Because we are merely trying to assuage our guilt by an act of kindness toward someone who doesn’t have the luxury of peace we have.

And guilt-drive act of kindness that could well have been custom designed to captivate Western Society, according to some. And it’s true, we don’t really know the real story behind that drowning. Children drown in Canada, USA, and around the world, and it is always possible that such a thing could be used for manipulation, to gain access, or to draw compassion. We may never know that. But regardless of the details, a child drowning is tragic and yanks at every parent’s heartstrings, every aunt, every uncle, every grandparent, and pretty much any compassionate human being. And it should stir us. It better.

And even if, worst case scenario, it was a manipulative act and a set up to draw compassion from Western culture–as numerous individuals have surmised, wondered and suggested, and a question that wondered through my own mind that very first news broadcast–it doesn’t make the crisis any less real. And it doesn’t make the need any less legitimate. Syrians are suffering and displaced, and they do need help. But the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ and logistics of it are not matters for impulsive action, from the perspective of a country. World leaders will need to exercise great wisdom in making the right call. And only the future will declare which avenue was the ‘right’ one, for good outcomes. Whether Putin’s locked and guarded gates, or Canada’s open door, or any leader in between, only time will tell.

I’ve read opinions pieces by both secular and Christian writers, declaring colliding views with confidence, certain of one move or another. I would suggest that certainty of anything, in a time like this, is as reliable as blowing smoke rings. They are most certainly there, until they are not. And then you have to make new ones. Just like bubbles. Blow them, and they exist, until they don’t. Likewise with the ‘right moves’ in this… until they are not.

Not one of us can be certain of the outcome of this thing. And our country’s leaders, like every other country’s leaders, must determine what is the best action for those under their care and protection as a nation, while extending compassion. My hope is that they don’t throw caution, common sense and discernment to the wind, and that they act in the best interest of each country while not abandoning the truly needy and destitute.

So what is the Christian response at this time? I hear some cry out that the country should close all borders–surely God would–and others that it should open them wide, even at risk to our country. Maybe it is reflective of a broader societal shirt, and broader shift in Christian thinking, maybe not, but at the very least it rings of insisting that leaders–Christian or not–are not called first to protect responsibly, those in their care. And there seems an inability for some to separate the responsibility of the state, from the responsibility of each individual Christian, and Christians collectively, to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, and to love sacrificially.

And when I think about how I would want to be loved, I can say with certainty I would want to be rescued from the hell some suffer. But I can say with the same certainty that I would want it done wisely so I don’t land in the same hell somewhere else. Otherwise I have gained nothing and they have lost everything. Wisdom is crucial in the ‘how’, and I pray our leaders use that wisdom and discernment in this process.

I certainly don’t see grounds for the place some Christians are taking it, to declare that Jesus meant we are to rescue every refugee across the world, and if we are not compelled to try, then we have somehow failed to love as Christians should love. That’s a popular and unreasonable judgment on social media these days, offered by some driven by emotion and the need to put everyone in their own box of what love is and should be.  We are created uniquely, each one of us, and we love differently. But we can love well, differently. Some of us love by swinging hearts and doors wide open, throwing caution to the wind, with a short sustainability, and others love in more calculated (and sometimes more responsible) ways that are sustainable longterm. We need both views for balance.

The opposite response, of hate and closing our hearts to compassion is not the solution. What I do know with certainty, is that my role as a Christian is to be like Jesus. That is not a matter in question. Whomever God brings across my path, is who is my neighbour today. and Jesus commanded us to love our neighbour, so that is the person I will love in this moment in time, while I am with them, and embrace as my neighbour.

Should that person violate my trust and put my life at risk, I will never regret having loved them. And should they prove to be a friend, and one with whose heart I connect, and whose values–if not beliefs, religion and lifestyle–at the very least offer respect, then I will also never regret having loved them. And if they meet Jesus in me, whether they ever embrace Him or not, I will never regret having loved them.

If love means requires me to ‘lay down my life’, then that is what I need to do. And if it means to jump in front of  train track to save someone, at the risk of my own life lost, I need to do it. And if it means putting boundaries in place to protect, then that is what I need to do. Any particular and strongly touted ‘belief’, when taken to it’s ultimate end, falls flat. Some who declares ‘open the borders wide’, will not be the one to open their front door and displace their own children. And yet, that belief, taken to it’s inevitable end would require just that. And some of us would. Who is the true hero, and offers the ‘best’ love is something time will tell….

And keeping in mind that even Jesus didn’t disregard danger when confronted with it. He removed Himself from those wishing to stone Him, in John 8:59, rather than choosing to stick around and prove His love. There has to be a time for common sense, even in love. The same Jesus who said, “I send you out like sheep among wolves, so be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” We’ve got the ‘harmless’ down pat, some of us non-resistant ones, but could focus on the wise as serpents part. And some have the ‘wise’ part mastered, but wish to resort to fighting with the sword.

Love is a powerful force. It is a Kingdom of God kind of force that does not fully make sense to the human mind, yet is not intended to function without thought. And each of us must express in the moment-by-moment, as believers, in the place where we walk with God today, if we want to live in the Way of Jesus.

As for Canada, and what it should do…. until I am Prime Minister–which currently looks to be a bare minimum of 4 years away, since we just had an election–it’s not my call to make. As for personal opinion–which I’ve mostly avoided throwing out there strongly–I do have strong opinions. They are somewhat true to the tone of this article; help the Syrian refugees, but at the same time use common sense and caution in the process, which I hope and (somewhat) trust my country is doing. All risk cannot be eliminated, but closing all doors to helping the most needy is a bit too self-preserving for me.

And functioning out of fear goes against my nature. From the first day, when the little boy washed ashore and I saw the hype, I said, “Even if it is a ploy to get inside the hearts of people, and thereby into our countries… and even if it is for ill-will by some, I would not say we should not help them.” But I am, by nature, a risk taker. Somewhat calculated, until I’m not. Then I just do what I believe to be right in a spontaneous moment. Which is why I even tackled this topic… because ‘calculated risk’ told me it is not wise to go there. And then when several friends called me out, I put on my mudding boots, and now here I am with my head stuck out, waiting for the hail to begin.

Nonetheless, for now I will focus on loving my neighbour… Including the Christian who sees it differently than me. That love is the only thing that will convince the world that we are the disciples of Jesus. And that love seems a lot harder to exercise than loving the refugee in a far away land. It seems less noble, less ’cause’ worthy. But it is the trademark of our relationship with God through Jesus. All other actions taken, from a faith perspective are but a racket, and a loud noise, if we don’t first exercise love in the Body of Christ.

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The young woman left Tim Hortons. I was lost in a world of my own by that time, hearing a client’s heart; her story. Compassion easily shared with someone from my own culture, the Mennonites. We are a strong group, with powerful beliefs; some that we would be willing to die for, others not so much. And we’re divided on which ones are worth dying for, when it comes right down to it.

My day went on, as usual. Except for moments when her face flashed through my memory and I again found myself wondering, again, What would it be like to be one of them, or look like one of them, but with no desire for bloodshed and hate…. What would it be like?

And compassion awakens again in my heart, and I whisper a prayer for wisdom for our leaders to do the right thing, the compassionate thing, and also the wise thing.

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Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

 

Part of Healing is Learning to Think of Others

In honesty, writing a blog tonight is not easy. I could think of a thousand and one things to say, I’m sure, but all fall flat as I think about the tragedy in Paris, France. It’s a current crisis and dreadful thing for any human to suffer, ever…  And it is not a crime against one city, or one nation. It is a crime against all of us, as is every careless and violent act political or otherwise.

Inevitably, because this is a crime that does not fall into sexual victimization, my heart is drawn to the importance of taking time from our own pain and working through things, as victims of sexual violence, to think of others in pain.

Together let’s remember Paris, France, and the families and loved ones of those left behind, and stand in solidarity with them, praying for them. Remembering them doesn’t mean that sexual abuse victims are less important than victims of terrorist attacks. Nor does it minimize the pain and suffering of those who have been violated sexually, or make less glaring the wickedness of sexual violence.  One is an act of terror against the body and the country, and ultimately the world–instilling fear, causing grief  and forever changing lives of those left behind–the other is an act of terror against the mind, body and spirit–instilling fear and shame, causing grief and forever changing the life of the victim.

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There is always the risk in grief, that we forget to see the pain and suffering of others, and become so deeply lost in our own pain that it even consumes us, and robs us of a full life. So it is good to look away, every now and then, even when we are in the deepest throes of personal sorrow.

With time, we will look away most of the time, and every now and then remember what we once suffered. But until then, we have to be intentional about it.

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

The #SaltedCaramelMocha in a Boring Red Cup, Please… And a #MerryChristmasStarbucks…& All

I kept seeing the Starbucks red cup referenced, so this morning I did a google search to see what the hype and offense is all about, and being ‘in the know’, I decided a second blog was in order. So here it is, awkwardly sandwiched in my 30 days of acknowledging victims of sexual abuse. But then, a good cup of Salted Caramel Mocha is the perfect treat for someone going through hard times, so maybe it’s an okay diversion.

I’ll start with saying I don’t care one iota if a business advertises Christmas–or snowflakes–on their cups or not. Even if they have done it for a bajillion years, it doesn’t offend me if they stop. They put it on in the first place for advertising, not because Starbucks loves Jesus. It’s business. It’s advertising. The thing that sells is the thing they will use. We ought to have been just as offended that they used it in the first place, because Jesus and Christmas are worth more than that. But we were not offended then, and we shouldn’t be now.

And I don’t really care if people say Merry Christmas to me or not. But I do care if businesses tell people what they may and may not say, on a faith level. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech for all. At least it should be, though it seems not to be. That’s a bit different than the advertising thing, though they lump it all together. And I am exercising my freedom of speech here, even though many people won’t agree with me, and they have the right to express their opinions also. And when I go out this holiday season, I will exercise that freedom again and say Merry Christmas to everyone if I want to. And I won’t do it to offend; I will do it because I love Jesus and I love celebrating this ‘birthday’ we’ve given Him. (We don’t really know the exact day.) Odds are high they will say it back to me.

And I love all the joy, happiness, and ‘light’ of the season, so soon after the dark, black of Halloween. (Yes, I hand out candy to all the little people who show up, dressed up in their costumes. No, that’s not celebrating the dark side and it doesn’t mean I celebrate death and goblins and all that occult stuff. If you want to tackle me on that–as some already have, my email is trudy(dot)metzger(at)rogers(dot)com. Your venting won’t offend me, or make either of us more or less Christian.) And while I know the ‘spirit of the season’ will be short lived, I enjoy it for the short time when people celebrate hope, and play cheerful Christmas carols. No other time of year is Christ proclaimed unwittingly, in the way He is at Christmas. But that’s all temporary if He’s not alive within.

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In the middle of the political correctness, and the spats over advertising, I care that Jesus is so alive in my heart that He flows out of me in love, not a ‘feel good’ into me in the form of some overpriced liquid in a ‘Christmas cup’. I care that I drink deep from His cup and represent Christ so well, that those who know me or meet me want to have mass (meaning full communion) with Christ, and thereby bring Christ-mass into their personal lives. The kind that lasts an eternity and doesn’t land crumpled in the rubbish bin when the drink is all.

As for Joshua Feuerstein, and the video he created… I found his initial ‘trick’–as he calls it–witty and somewhat humorous, and if he had left it there, it would have had more impact. But then it turned into a ‘let’s show them’, which in turn makes Christians look like idiots, IMHO, and the testimony this is as Christians in the news, is a bit embarrassing. Far as I’m concerned, less advertising about Christmas takes a lot of ‘fake light’ out of the world, and the true Christ who shines in our hearts, will shine all the brighter.

We might as well rejoice when the world shows its darkness, for this very reason, so that the light of our hope sparkles more brightly in contrast. There is something about twinkling lights in the blackest of nights…. There is something about stars in the darkest hour of the night… There is something about the lights of home, when we are tired and need rest….

And there is something about the Love of Jesus Christ, when the soul is black and hopeless. His Light is Life to the searching. Hopefully, with less fake lights, some will see the True Light of Christmas and feel His Love. For ‘while we were still sinners’–wandering in black hopelessness and unworthy of Him–‘Christ died for our sins’. What a beautiful truth to come home to. What a powerful reason to celebrate Christmas in a boring red cup…

I’ll have the Salted Caramel Mocha, Venti please, in a boring red cup, minus the snowflakes. The thank you I offer, the smile on my face, the personally meaningful ‘Merry Christmas’, that’s the overflow of Christ in me.

God said in Deuteronomy, “I have set before you life and death, therefore choose life.” And the Bible repeatedly tells us to ‘bless and curse not’. I choose blessing.

On that note, #MerryChristmasStarbucks! I won’t be boycotting you or trying to negatively impact your business; you have my business this year, same as every other year.

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Why I Bless & Support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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Canada said it loud and clear on Monday, “It’s time for a change!” Led by our now dynamic, charming (almost) Prime Minister, this mantra echoed through our country, with resounding finality on October 19, 2015, leading to a strong majority Liberal government. In his victory speech, his confidence–in spite of fatigue showing in his eyes–and his charismatic ‘presence’ were quite convincing. The energy was contagious, without question. But that’s not why I am choosing to bless and support our new Prime Minister…

Prime Minister Harper made many good and wise choices, and he also made choices that were not good and less wise. It’s a bummer being human. It really is. In spite of his blunders–which I’m sure I would have outdone–there was a fatherliness about him and his tone spoke of wisdom and thoughtfulness. I value those things. But Mr. Harper made some fatal mistakes, and yesterday each Canadian got to decide if the good out-weighed the bad, in their minds. The final consensus was that it did not, and that most would rather invest in a new leader, with new vision, and new passion. But Mr Harper’s mistakes are also not the reason I support our new Prime Minister…

Trudeau has made many promises–some good, some not so good–that he intends to follow through on. Some promises are compassionate-and I do think the man knows something about compassion, and certainly his wife has a very caring heart. The compassionate thing at times comes with huge cost, huge sacrifice. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as we are willing and able to pay that price tag. Rahab, the harlot in the Bible, saved the lives of several of Joshua’s men, with compassion that came at huge risk to her. God honoured that compassion and spared her. Sometimes the outcome of compassion is beautiful, sometimes it is deadly. Even so, I’m not sure that we should withhold compassion because it might cost us. However, we should exercise wisdom and discernment. If I borrow $100,000 to buy a home to house a homeless family, I will be applauded, but if I cannot repay and the home is  repossessed, I will be shamed and the family worse off than before. That is something for Canada’s government to consider, because fiscal irresponsibility is important. But fiscal responsibility, or the lack thereof, do not influence whether I will bless and support our new Prime Minister….

In Christian opinion I’ve already seen reference to Sophie Grégoire, and concern over her New Age beliefs, and how they will impact our nation. Let me start by saying that I had already done some reading about her, and have to say, she is an inspiring woman. I don’t agree with her beliefs, and am not going to endorse them, but she is a very inspiring and compassionate woman. Her heart for people, her love and desire for peace and kindness are to be applauded. And, yes, I expect she will have more influence than we are accustomed to from a PM’s wife, by virtue of who she is as a person, along with what her TV personality. She is a captivating speaker, seems gracious and humble rather than arrogant and entitled. So, yes Canada, I think we will see and hear more from Sophie than we have from any other leader’s wife. But a sweet and captivating wife is not the reason I support and bless our new Prime Minister…

For all the promises, and whether Trudeau keeps them or not, and whether it wrecks our country or builds it up, and regardless of what influence Sophie has or doesn’t, and regardless of differing religious beliefs or areas we agree–should there be some–I am committed to blessing and supporting our new PM. And even when or if I do not support the things Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does, I am committed to blessing and supporting him. Because God has commanded us to pray for our leaders and honour them. My decision pretty much starts there…

But there is one more reason I will choose to bless and support him. Words have power. And as believers, our words have even more power, because the name of God is connected to them through our belief in God. So even when our words don’t line up with God, people associate them with God. And God has spoken and given direction on our words. “I have set before you life and death, therefore choose life”… “Life and death are in the power of the tongue”… “Bless and curse not!” … Choose life… choose blessing…

So I will speak words of blessing over Justin Trudeau and our country. I will hope for real change that honours God, and pray for it when I see the opposite happening. I will honour those who are in leadership over me, and trust that God will bring good to us and heal our land. Because I believe He will as we, His people, humble ourselves and repent from our own ways.

And in all that the new Prime Minister sets out to do to bring healing to our land out of his own kindness, and in things like acknowledging the incredible losses among our Aboriginal brothers and sisters, I pray that God moves and touches lives. And I pray that He blesses Justin and Sophie and their children immensely.

…Because God’s blessing and the outcome of it is a powerful thing; something not to be underestimated.

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Remembering 9/11; Remembering that Love Conquers, Hate Divides

love conquers, hate divides 2It’s cloudy and dreary outside today. And it should be. Why shouldn’t the heavens grieve and mourn? For, on this day, fourteen years ago, the world changed. My country changed. I changed. A general trust in humanity, believing that most were kind-hearted and a few were corrupt to the core, shattered and gave way to suspicion, distrust and with a heightened sensitivity, all around… at least for a time.

This morning I made Mexican bread pudding, yes, that’s what I’ll call it, since I haven’t a name for it at all. And only those who have made it and loved it, will understand why I craved it in the first place. Bread, cut in slices and dried out completely, slowly toasted in the oven and cooled… Pour hot coffee over it until it is spongy, then drain coffee off and squeeze by placing another similar bowl inside, and pressing. Fluff the bread with a fork, and spread with favourite jam, and drizzle cream over it. (No, it’s not healthy. But I’ve probably done it 5 times in 20 years, so no harm done.) My father loved this food. And while it wasn’t a frequent thing, it was a favourite and every now and then, I give into the cravings. (Even though hubby says, ‘no kisses until you brush your teeth’ and generally turns up his nose at it.)

Just before I made it, I read that our very good friends, John and Cindy Yutzy, said goodbye to a father and father-in-law in the wee hours of this morning. I thought of my father in the hospital on this day, fourteen years ago, and the months that ensued before his passing. I remembered the world being rocked fourteen years ago today…

Fourteen years ago. Yet a memory that still seems etched on fresh canvas, moist to the touch…

I remember where I was, at that moment when I heard. Our daughters, then only five and six, had left for school, like every ordinary day, and Tim was at work, having started his new job at Floradale Feed Mill. (The best move ever!) Our oldest two sons, ages two and three, were home with me, oblivious to the wrongness of that day. And I was 2 months pregnant with baby number five; we had only just found out…  And my father was in Tillsonburg hospital, facing a potential amputation.

I called my friend Danette Martin that morning for one thing or another, oblivious, and she said she heard of some dreadful thing happening in New York–and mentioned a possible bombing of Twin Towers. She was trying to call her family in USA, to see if they know more, but the phone lines were overloaded and she was having trouble getting through…

We didn’t have TV at the time, and my mind was fragile, being pregnant and all. And with my dad’s health declining, my childhood story was constantly in my face. Once or twice a week I would go see dad, and sit and talk. We went places, conversationally, I had never dreamed of entering with this man; places I wouldn’t have thought possible, or even would have trusted. And, while it was healing, it also brought the terror and insecurity of the past back in my face, leaving me vulnerable. Violence and death threats…

Violence and death threats that had made me pace the floor in childhood, now made me pace with the ‘not knowing’ of this bomb, or plane crash, or whatever horrible thing had happened. In childhood I knew my ‘enemy’ and had observed from birth what drove him, why he threatened, how he thought. And, while disarming, it was an advantage. This new threat was a stranger and that stranger might come for our country, our home, our children.

As each subsequent attack was reported, I felt weak. I wandered to the couch and lay down, numb and confused. Who would do such a thing? And, more importantly, why? And where next? Were our children safe? What kind of a world had we birthed them into? I placed my hand on my abdomen, as if to protect the unborn… My mind raced…

Little by little the story unravelled, it was a terrorist attack. Osama Bin Laden, a name that would forever be associated with the darkness and terror of that day, claimed responsibility, as an Islam extremist. Conspiracy theories soon challenged that, and swore up and down the government was involved, adding to the confusion and chaos…

And that is how that part of the story remains, even now, fourteen years later. On Facebook this morning the conspiracy theories still cross my newsfeed, as does the memory of terrorist attacks. Bin Laden’s name, while blame rests heavily on him, has not. He may be associated with that dark day, but he lost the spotlight quickly. However, most importantly, the newsfeeds are filled with stories of hope, courage and recovering; of building again and uniting as a nation; of being brought together through tragedy rather than torn apart and divided.

The ripples of a day like that never really end, both good and bad. Nations have united and risen above, but we also remember the losses. Today there are thirteen year old sons and daughters, who were in the womb that day, who will never know their fathers. There are adolescents now who, as toddlers, waited for mom or dad to pick them up that day; they never came. Today there are widows and widowers–and some who have remarried and started a new life–who relive that feeling of panic and anxiety, as they waited to hear from their spouse. They relive picking up the phone and dialling, over and over again, saying “come on… come on… answer… Please! … ” and crying out to God–whether they believe in Him or not–in a desperate attempt to make their world right… But their world was never made right. That moment robbed them of something precious. But in that robbing, for most if not all, resilience was born, and people rose up with new determination.

This morning it all collides in my mind, as I stare into my bowl of Mexican bread pudding; nostalgia and painful memories blended with tears of grief and gratefulness. Life is filled with loss. Innocent trust was stolen. My dad, with whom I watched the footage of the attack for the first time, has since passed on. Today my friend’s dad passed away. And you, my readers, have crises and losses… I have losses…. And in the middle of loss, my heart finds joy and peace in one thing; the kindness of God.

What the enemy means for evil, God is using for good and for His glory. Not only does He speak hope in every dark place, He is Hope in every dark place. And with that adjusting of my focus, innocent trust comes alive again. Because my God goes before me as a shield, and behind me as a guard. I am covered. I am safe. 

He is Sovereign Over Us. The words of this song, by Michael W. Smith, comfort me, and turn my heart to the One who redeems all things.

May we never forget. Never forget the suffering of others… Never forget the courage and authority that come from standing together. Never forget that the real enemy is hatred and lies, and the one from whom those are birthed.

And may we never, never forget the kindness of God.

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Finding Hope Between Gunshots, Affairs, Sex Trafficking & Wringing Hands

This week I sit here, hardly knowing how to speak hope into a dark situation. For if it isn’t about offering hope, then what purpose is there?

Sometimes the hope I present is that victims will be heard and their hearts cared for, while not over-compensating and leaving them stuck in hopeless victimization, soaking up sympathies. That’s a destruction all its own, to get absorbed in self-pity, and leaves victims lonely as hell. Sometimes the hope I present is that churches are starting to perk up and listen, and hold perpetrators of abuse accountable for their crimes and letting them face consequences, while still offering Jesus and His love and grace. But always, even in the most exposing and revealing of writings, my prayer is that truth will speak and hope will rise up in hearts of readers. And, where I ‘get it wrong’–because all of us are flawed and sinful–I pray that Truth will speak, and override my scribblings.

Looking at the scandals, the violence and the helpless wringing of hands, words don’t come so easily. It’s all a bit overwhelming. And, yet, apart from the shootings–and actually carrying out such ideation, it’s just a larger scale of the same kind of thing I deal with: people dealing with murderous thoughts and/or suicidal ideation, and hearing dark voices in their heads telling them to act out and follow through; molestation and sexual abuse–often covered up; affairs and infidelity… and children carelessly ‘pimped out’ in their own homes and churches…

And to accompany this there are usually people who want to make these things go away as fast as possible through religious lingo, cheap grace and shallow forgiveness.. The offenders, on the other hand, try to make it go away by putting blame on the victims. (My wife/husband didn’t fulfil me sexually… the child asked for the molestation and flirted with me… The people made racial slurs against me… They treated me different because I’m homosexual… She shouldn’t have been out on the street, especially not dressed like that… )

And we offer hope how?
By siding with making it go away as fast as possible, if we’re religious? Or by siding with the offenders and endorsing their faulty beliefs, or demonizing the victim? (It is the duty of a spouse to give into every sexual desire and whim of his/her partner, without a voice… If people didn’t make those racial and bigoted comments maybe Vester Lee Flanagan–Bryce Williams–wouldn’t have snapped… I saw how the little girl handled herself in a very sexual way and I can believe she did things to ask for the man to touch her… The girl shouldn’t have been so foolish as to get messed up with those people and get pimped out…)

No, we speak hope by pursing truth, both on a practical level and a spiritual level…

Truth in Marriage:
Husbands and wives are blessed, relationally, when they connect at a heart level and care for one another. Sexual intimacy is a beautifully bonding experience, when partners respect each other’s needs and desires, both sides of the equation. Being a trustworthy lover requires sensitivity to our partner, rather than using him or her without consideration. A spouse who is considerate and gives his/her partner a safe place, sexually– a place to engage or decline; a place to sacrifice personal preference by choice for the sake of the spouse–will have a more fulfilling relationship. Caring for others is always more rewarding, and truth is, barring other struggles or health issues, the partner is likely to be more responsive in bed. Simple math. That’s all that is.

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Truth in Bigotry Based on Race, Religion or Sexual Orientation:
Victims of racial/bigoted slurs or mistreatment because of homosexuality, religion or any other thing, will feel hurt. It’s human nature. And though no human has the right to attack another for their choices, their beliefs or for differences, it will happen to all of us and it is our responsibility to learn to deal well with that side of it. However, not all opposing views are attacks, slurs or bigoted. It stands to reason–if there’s much reason left in the world–that if one side expresses themselves, the other side should have the same privilege, even if it steps on toes and collides with beliefs. That is not ‘homophobia’ or ‘persecution’ or ‘bullying’. It is the expression of differing views and if you have any confidence in your point of view at all, hearing an opposing view won’t offend. The greater the offence, the more glaring the insecurity. Shooting people to make a statement is about inner rage and personal issues, not about racial slurs, job losses or other offences. I would venture a guess that it’s a narcissistic response to the consequences of personal irresponsibility.

Truth in Sex Trafficking:
Sex trafficking victims are often struggling teens, though not always, whose vulnerability is exploited by predators. In rebellion or not, to put the crimes of skilled criminals on vulnerable and immature youth, not to mention often very trusting and naive ones–and sometimes even sweet, gentle and innocent youth–is simply not right. They are victims of horrible crime and need us to do what we can to help, and to stop this evil.

Truth in Child Molestation:
And a child ‘asking for it’ when he or she is molested is just out of this world insane. That a full grown adult could say such a thing is beyond horrific. Even more so coming from a person professing Christ. Unfortunately some buy into their lies and excuse themselves based on it. I could list numerous such (current) cases, but won’t. But I will say this, when a man in his 40’s has the audacity to say, “But she wanted it”, of a girl not quite ten years old, things are going to hell in a hand basket, and fast. And in any community that accepts this as a reasonable argument, there is a lack of discernment, to say the very least. Often there’s a bit more behind it than all that, but we’ll not go there today.

Truth, Freedom & Hope:
The reality is that truth brings freedom, and the hidden thing brings death and destruction. I’ve referred to the story of Achan before, and will again, because it’s a reality that will never change. God hates the hidden thing, and He’s creative about exposing it. And when He does, we are each given the opportunity to respond with repentance and ‘owning up’, or we can push the blame, excuse ourselves or find some other way to derail responsibility.

Truth brings freedom and offers hope. And part of truth is accepting responsibility, without excuses. But hope… hope is a Promise from Heaven that is given to us, a gift from God through Jesus, when we embrace truth; all truth. And hope is the beautiful thing that makes accepting responsibility possible, without being swallowed up in shame.

Hope…

Because of what Jesus did on the cross… And He did it for the worst sinners, the likes of Josh (we all know at least some of what he did), and Noel Biderman (founder of Ashley Madison who justifies adultery and isn’t the least bit sorry)… And then there’s me… who once held a gun contemplating murder….

And maybe that’s why, even though I believe in accountability and consequences, I believe in the power of Jesus and hope to transform lives. It’s so hard to deny the existence of a precious gift I hold in my hands…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Colorado Springs Fire: More Than Just ‘Bad News’

I follow Rachelle Gardener’s Blog , Literary agent, to learn and observe, as I move closer to publishing my book. (Fellow authors, she’s worth following!) Her posts are easy to read, informative and helpful, and offer a balanced view on a variety of topics. What’s more, she doesn’t shoot down the self-publishing option! And that’s important to me because I see a lot of advantages to it. (See her post Is the Sky Falling.)

This morning Rachelle’s blog post  was simply titled, Fire. She wrote a short piece, asking for prayer as the wildfires rage, and included a few pictures, showing the devastation of the fire. Rachelle lives near the fires, and her husband, a wildland certified firefighter for the city of Colorado Springs, is in the front lines.

Even though I’ve never met Rachelle, I’ve learned from her and appreciate how she invests in writers. I have a certain perceptions of her personality, of who she is and in that sense I feel I know her. I had heard of the fires previously—it’s all over Facebook, Twitter, the News and I’m sure every other social media—and had prayed. But something happens, when it involves someone you feel a connection to, that makes it more real and personal.

With News updates at our disposal, only seconds after an event takes place, we have become desensitized, sensationalized and detached from the hurting world around us. At least I have. It isn’t that I don’t care—I care a lot and friends will tell you I’m the first to need a Kleenex in the face of another’s suffering. (In a recent Bible Study the group quickly learned that the box of tissues should be placed at my feet, because, as people shared their stories and their pain, my heart was moved to tears. We playfully called it my Wednesday night allergies. I have a compassionate heart.)

We watch this stuff every day on TV shows and movies, where no one gets hurt, and we tend to compare real life with what we see on TV. This is reflected in the following excerpt from and article in the San Fransisco Chronicle, “It was like looking at the worst movie set you could imagine,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said after flying over the 9-square-mile fire late Tuesday. “It’s almost surreal. You look at that, and it’s like nothing I’ve seen before.”

Subconsciously, I know it impacts my perception of the real world.  When tragedy strikes, it is harder for me to grasp that these are real people with real lives, experiencing unspeakable devastation and pain.

With her simple request for prayer, not having the heart to write a regular post, Rachelle made it real and personal for me. I pray that the capacity to care, the heart to reach out and offer assistance, and the passion that cries out to God on behalf of the hurting, is never lost in me because I have become desensitized to pain and suffering.

My prayer this morning, for the City of Colorado Springs, is that God will intervene, that His presence will be powerfully present, to comfort. I pray that no more lives will be lost and needs of the displaced will be met. And I pray for rain, or whatever environmental conditions are most needed to help stop the spread of this fire.