Are We Part of the Failure? Or the Solution?

Are We Part of the Failure? Or the Solution?

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

Kendra Broekhuis is the author of “Here Goes Nothing…an introvert’s reckless attempt to love her neighbor.” I’m reading her book, and have just read a chapter titled, “But Do They Deserve My Gift?” In that chapter, Broekhuis talks of the time she and her husband were in Guatemala at a Christian school. She talks of the poverty everywhere outside the doors of their home. And she talks of people there who would ask for help of some kind or another, and of her and her husband’s struggle to discern whether or not to help. This is what she says about that experience.
I don’t have the answers to what we need to do about welfare. But I do know one thing: Christ never asked the question, “But do they deserve my gift?” to the people He personally encountered. Not when He gave up heaven for humanity, not when He caused the blind to see and the lame to walk, not when He stood on the hills and preached His truth to the masses, not when He washed His disciples’ feet, and not when He died in my place. He already knew I didn’t deserve His gift. And yet that didn’t hold Him back from giving me—an undeserving sinner—the gift of His grace.
Christ died for me, even though I didn’t deserve it. Even though He knew I would take advantage of His gift of salvation each and every day. And that gives me freedom, freedom from the obsessive worry over giving “correctly.”
Knowing Pablino, Victoria, Victor, Estuardo, and Alejandra (people they dealt with in Guatemala) changed the conversation on poverty for me. They reminded me that poverty is more complicated than what we read in textbooks and articles on the Internet. That I have no idea what it’s like to be poor. That there is a great divide between the Uppers and the Lowers all over the world. That when I merely focus on whether or not a person deserves my gift, then I am part of the failure of the church to do its part in demonstrating Christ’s boundless grace.”
Husband and I prayed about supporting Victor and Alejandra. We asked God for wisdom, sought guidance from other Christians, and at different times we made different judgment calls. If Victor or Alejandra chose to take advantage of our compassion, that is not our fault. We did what we thought was right even if they chose, for whatever reason, to be dishonest with us.

This is Jay again. I know I’ve talked a lot about benevolence the last while. But it is a significant part of what I do each week. I too have struggled with the “Do they deserve it?” mentality, and with whether or not I am using the funds you donate in ways that demonstrate good stewardship.
But when we cut to the chase…when we get to the bottom of it all, we find the example of Jesus Christ as he gave all on our behalf, even “while we were yet sinners,” as Paul the great Apostle tells us. We do NOT deserve God’s grace. We do NOT deserve God’s mercy. We do NOT deserve God’s love. But we have it anyway, because He sent Himself in the form of Jesus Christ to visit humanity, and show us the love, grace, and mercy of the Father. And when I begin to wonder whether others “deserve” something we might have that we might give to them, we really are part of the “failure of the church to do its part in demonstrating Christ’s boundless grace.”

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