Thursday, February 17, 2011

Loving Others

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
John 15:12

Whether you believe Christ was who he said he was, he taught us a very important lesson on loving others and on humanity. We can all learn from his teachings.  Through scripture, we can witness him showing more concern for the poor than the rich. 
For the past couple of days I have been feeling spoiled and selfish, but grateful to be a U.S. citizen.  This country is certainly not perfect, but we have rights, opportunities and freedoms that other countries fail to offer.
            I read an article in “Compassion” magazine this morning called “Lessons from the Trash Heap.” It was about a girl named Aury from Guatemala. She grew up, literally, on the city dump. The president of Compassion International described it as: "The stench was overwhelming in the sweltering heat. Hordes of flies immediately swarmed us, and we could barely hear each other over the roar of the bulldozers." The volunteer team asked Aury what she knows now from having grown up in this awful place. She responds with, “I know two things. First, I know what it feels like for people to look at you and think you are garbage. When I was very small, the dump trucks wouldn’t even swerve to avoid hitting me, the drivers thought I wasn’t worth the effort. If I had been killed out there among the dogs and vultures, probably nobody would have even dug a grave for me. I was already where I belonged, garbage in the trash heap.”
            Wow, I am not sure about you, but this leaves me with a heavy heart. Can you imagine feeling like Aury? Can you picture yourself living in these types of conditions? Like myself, it is probably really hard to imagine what she went through in this experience. This leaves me feeling disconnected from the world I live in. I just can’t relate. I personally feel self-absorbed. Aury is a person just like you and me. She deserves the same opportunities we all have received.
This story also brings me hope. Her perspective was even more amazing by saying, “I know that nobody is garbage. We are all loved by God and He has a perfect plan and purpose for every life. That’s what I know.” It was incredible the way she looked at her tragic situation as an opportunity to bring God into her circumstances.  God has also brought a sponsor in her life (an opportunity) offering her support so she can enjoy what this life has to offer. Through this experience, I believe Aury has gained spiritual wisdom, strength and maturity that is much more rewarding and valuable than earthly things. Aury has since graduated from college and started her own business.
            Aury is a prime example of courage and perseverance. She inspires me to continue to look at every opportunity, good or bad, as a way to get closer to Christ and to see Him in everything. This story encourages me to continue to look at my challenging circumstances as an opportunity to grow spiritually and humbly. I hear many times:  “life is what you make of it.” Yes, this is much easier to say if you have had the right opportunities. 
            It is overwhelming to think of all the needs in this world, but Aury’s story moves my heart to help provide opportunities for others using the resources God has given me. I do not have to help everyone, but by helping one person I am making a difference. I think we should all be inspired to get involved in providing opportunities for others. Christian or no Christian, we should work together to connect this world and help others.    
            As I am writing this blog, I think of the devastation an earthquake caused in Haiti, a girl or boy being sold into prostitution in Thailand, the tragic situation in Egypt, the extreme poverty and disease in parts of Africa. I even think of the poverty in our very own country.
I pray that we are all challenged to look at how much easier we have it in this life. Even if some of us have not had it so easy, I encourage you to look at it with a new perspective by being positive, strong and courageous, not allowing it to knock you down without getting you back up. Let’s put some of this energy that we put into ourselves into others with conviction, love and humility.

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