Since our blog post on Friday, I’ve been wondering if there needs to be some kind of follow-up. As I prayed about it, I settled on, “Let go and let God.” If He opens a door, fine. If He doesn’t, that’s fine too.
Well, He did, so here we are again.
The compound where we live and work begins each work day with a staff devotion. Typically, the Haitian leaders pick a verse to focus on over the course of a week. This week’s verse comes from Revelations 3:20:
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
As I read and listened to the verse in Creole, the door reference slapped me in the face. Had I not already said, “OK, God, if you open a door…”?
And then we looked at the verse in context. The message was for the church in Laodicea, an area known for its wealth but lacking spiritual vitality. The people in the church had riches and claimed that they needed nothing, but they were poor on the inside. When a knock came at their door (literally or a figurative knock at the heart), the choice of whether or not to open it belonged to the individual. It’s a truth that continues today. And it’s a choice that has some pretty serious repercussions.
Perhaps it’s just me, but there seem to be some similarities between Laodicea and, well, other places. It also seems to be directly related to Friday’s post.
A few of you read anger in the post, but Tim and I were not angry when we initially wrote it. Annoyed, yes, because it’s incredulous to think that this is where we are as a nation. If you could hear us read it, you would hear passion as we try to adequately describe the beauty that is here and our plea for you to check your own motivation.
We all know people who feign righteous outrage. We all know those whose involvement begins and ends with a facebook post. If you are outraged because of the lack of compassion or empathy, how do you answer the question, “what is compassion without action?”
Admittedly, we used the word (bleep) more than necessary to emphasize the ridiculousness of the statement; we own this. The flip side of this is that we are baffled at those who express greater outrage over the use of this word than the degradation of a nation and her people.
Many of you read the post as it was intended. Thank you for knowing us well enough to receive it that way. If you read anger and reached out to us, thank you for respecting us enough to do so. If you read anger and moved on, is it possible that you are feeling convicted about something? Only you know the answer to that question.
To those who think that we are jumping on or off a particular political bandwagon, we are not. This isn’t about politics. It’s about human kindness and decency. We do not seek validation in the number of likes or comments we receive from one side or the other. When I bothered to finally look at the responses, I was intrigued to see similar responses from both sides. That gives me hope.
I did ask myself why I chose to speak up now when I typically turn the other cheek. And I heard this still small voice say, “because I put you there for such a time as this.” I’ve held my tongue in the past, but this was our turn. We don’t know what it’s like to be Haitian, we do know what it is like to live in this country.
Despite our speaking up in defense of Haiti, living here will be different, at least for a little while. There will be people here who condemn us because of what was reported in the media. Trust me, it was all over the news here. My heart breaks for the thousands of people who are in the adoption process who will see their paperwork delayed because of subtle retaliation. I fear for those who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time when there is blatant retaliation. I’m sad that so many Haitians will always wonder if the “blans” they encounter secretly feel the same way as what was reported. How can anyone be effective in ministry when that barrier exists? This is real life stuff. This is kingdom stuff.
We were asked to soften the language of the original post, which we did out of respect for the people who asked, but you need to know that anger is not what drove our remarks. I am sad that many of you don’t know this beautiful place and aren’t willing to know her, but I can’t force you to open the door when there is a knock.
Back to this morning’s devotion. We had more people than usual, so when we stood and made our circle for the closing prayer, we filled the dining room. It seemed to me that there was the proverbial elephant in the room so I did what I do best. I spoke up. I wanted our colleagues to know exactly where I stand on this issue. After all, there are enough things that divide us; we don’t need more.
It is in these moments, when we can share gratitude and appreciation and respect for one another, that we find relationship, where we find healing, and we find love.