“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37-40
In Proverbs 30, Agur says that there are four things he does not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a young woman (verse 19). Were I to write a proverb, I would have a lot more than four questions, but for now, I would be content with answers to these three, why would a man of power think he can do whatever he desires with a woman (and some men), why are victims not believed and why would someone despise a person in need? With regards to my first question, call me naïve, but I don’t understand what makes men think it is okay to expose their private parts, expect someone subordinate to them to engage in unwanted relations, and worse, brag about it? I suppose I have been lucky in my life. The only things I can add to the #metoo movement are a job interview as a 17 year old where I had to try on a bikini bathing suit as part of the interview process (I will forever wonder if there were cameras in that dressing room). Or the time with a Master’s Degree in History, I applied to teach at a high school where the principal refused to continue an interview after I admitted that I could not coach football. Yeah, that time. They still haunt me. They impact who I am today. But, my experiences could have been much, much worse. What gives people the right to take advantage of someone who just needs a job? Either as a 17 year old or a woman trying to support her family. Second, don’t tell me that the women are making it up. You might fool me if it was one woman, but hundreds? Thousands? Maybe millions? The fear of condemnation and humiliation when revealing the abuse should be enough for us to know that they don’t speak lightly. And finally, how can someone look into the eyes of a starving child or a desperate mother or a father risking his life to provide for his family and condemn them? Why would anyone turn their back stating that the impoverished deserve their condition? Maybe, I do have four things I don’t understand. Here’s another: how can it be that those who stand up for the poor, the defenseless, the neglected, are the ones now under attack? Eight years ago, my youngest son, upon return from a trip to Haiti right after the earthquake, propelled me to make a difference. When Tim rejected my offers for food, clothing and medicine and told me instead that Haiti needed moms to rock the babies, my heart broke. While I couldn’t go to Haiti, I could go to Guatemala. There, my broken heart healed as I rocked the babies and fell in love with a people, a country and particularly a special little boy. A boy born into poverty and malnutrition but now lives and thrives because of the help he received. People who chose to share God’s love with strangers. Now, that I understand.