(This is the second in a series...go back to yesterday's post if you haven't read it yet.)
I am an optimist. I am trusting. I always assume people tell the truth about everything. I am black-and-white--meaning, I see the world as clear-cut, with right and justice falling on one side of a line and wrong and injustice falling on the other. Even the line is between them is usually straight in my head.
That's kind of a fast-track version of the way I see the world. I'm wired that way. Life has taught me, however, that (1) many, many people DO NOT see the world this way and (2) life has a lot of gray areas and (3) I am usually oblivious to gray areas, not because I'm insensitive and don't care...I just don't see gray naturally...it has to be pointed out to me.
All of this to say...social justice is a big ole BALL OF GRAY. Wait, lest I fail to portray it correctly...a big ole ball of sticky gray twisted up yarn that will take generations upon generations to untangle. Or, in my worldview...an overwhelmingly daunting task that looks fine from afar and in theory, but is messy, get-your-hands-sticky, confusing, and well...GRAY. It is not clear-cut. It's not a neat package. It is people. And people are messy. (That's why I still prefer to deal with automated customer service most of the time)
Messy in a good way. I'm still learning.
"Help the poor."
Great. Where are they? And how do I get to know them? Help them with what, really? Help them not be poor? What if they're ok with being poor? Didn't you say that the poor are blessed? By you? Or by people like me? Help. Help me help them. Lord. Help me. What do I do? What if they reject my help? Why have I made this about me again, Lord?
I talk myself in circles trying to figure out what to do.
Justice Project. Concentrated effort in ONE neighborhood for NINE MONTHS. Now, friends, that is clear-cut. Right? Two people with a list of needs. Eleven people willing to help me help them. Now, let's do it.
Well, so far, our main objective is to get to know them. And, I gotta say, it would be so much easier if that weren't the goal. If my goal were to march in and work on a list of tasks, I'd be much better suited for this. I can plant flowers, hammer nails, and buy groceries all day long. I am very good at serving with my hands. I am not at all good serving with my heart. It's difficult. It's...messy. It's unpredictable. It's scary. It's vulnerable.
And it's our calling. All of us. God's hands and feet won't get very far unless we have His love to back it up. Messy or not...here we come.