Thursday, 27 March 2014

C'est la vie

Matthew 5:45 "...for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

I've been pondering on the ways of the world. Sometimes, I feel like I've hit the jackpot. From the basic necessities (refer to Maslow's hierarchy of needs), i.e. food, clothing and shelter, to the superfluous details such as a supportive family, loving friends and so on, I have been well provided for throughout my near three decades of life. I have had a happy childhood, non-traumatic school years, both the opportunities and resources to further my studies into medical school and now, postgraduate education at one of the top universities of the world. Passable looks, maybe above-average erudition, a largely even disposition...what do I lack? I have every reason to be thankful! And lest I be accused of pride (although I do confess that it is one of my main weaknesses...or to give it its proper title, sin), I realise that these are all gifts courtesy of our Father above (as the good Book says, 'what do you have that you did not receive?' 1 Cor 4:7).

Even so, why should I be so terribly blessed? The majority world (aka the 'Third World') lives and dies not knowing how it feels to go to sleep with a full belly in a warm dry house with running water and 24/7 electricity, and to have access to education and employment that utilise their God-given intelligence and abilities. Why am I here and not there? Why are they there and not here?

Luke 12:48 "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."
(Or to quote another famous figure, 'with great power comes great responsibility') 

I remember a conversation I had with some friends back in KL. How I believe that the more apathetic we are to the plight of our fellow men and their suffering, the closer our hearts draw towards our innate psychopathic tendencies. One of the primary criteria for the antisocial or psychopathic personality disorder is a lack of empathy. 'Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard' Pro 21:13. Just as in the poem First they came..., in which the poet laments the willful ignorance of the wider German populace to the growing oppression of various subgroups by the rising Nazi party, eventually to its very own detriment.

TED: Photos that bear witness to modern slavery - the link is to a video of an American photojournalist who chronicled examples of 21st-century slavery in Ghana, India and Nepal. I become restless when I hear of the injustices that mar this earth we call home, the monstrosities that we allow to exist simply by our doing nothing! Do you think that we will be found innocent of the blood of our brothers and sisters simply because we were not directly culpable?

Matthew 25:41-45 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'"

I get twinges of guilt for being so comfortable cocooned in my beautiful house in Melbourne, planning for my holiday in Brazil for the upcoming FIFA World Cup followed by the big move to the States for my Master of Public Health program...I don't (yet) know what I can do to remedy such a situation. But I know that God has placed us wherever we may be, whether in the here and now or in the nebulous future, to serve Him in whatever capacity that pleases Him. I know that He wants us to be His hands and feet to reach the broken and the dying, His light in the darkness encroaching upon our benighted neighbours, and His voice to break the deafening silence surrounding our weaker brethren. To remind them - and us - that we are not alone. That He sees. And that He remembers.  

Psalm 9:18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever.

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