It’s times like these when you realize how truly fortunate you are. Having spent these past few days visiting poor, third world countries, it makes you begin to establish a sense of humbleness in your life.
We just got back from a cruise. Not only was it a wonderful vacation, but it was also an eye opening experience. The places that we visited weren’t only beautiful; they also had a sadness attached. As we were riding along in an old, Greyhound bus, the people outside stared up at us. I can only imagine what was going through their minds.
“Oh, those spoiled Americans. I have to accept them because they help our city thrive, but they don’t know how good they have it.”
Meanwhile, those exact same people go home each night to a house that they call a home made out of small 2×4′s and tin trashcans melted together so they’re no longer circular. That’s it. Everything that they own, their family, and their livelihood are in that small, tiny cubicle. It’s almost hard to fathom, them living as they do. I felt almost sick to my stomach to have to go back to my fancy cruise ship of a home for a week and thrive with all of the food I could possibly ever want and ice cream out the back door. I couldn’t help but think,
“What are those people going to have to eat tonight?”
The thought just sickens me. How can we allow people to live like that with the unlimited amounts of resources that we have in the United States? How can we even visit places like that & take such complete advantage of them…& not even know that we’re doing it because we’re so blinded by our own selfishness?
The workers on the cruise ship have it a little better than those who live on the mainland, but not that much. They come from all over the world to work on a cruise ship for opportunity. I recently witnessed a sloppy, inconsiderate family completely trash a booth during the buffet lunch one afternoon. They crumbled crackers all over the ground, spilt milk on the carpet, and, to top it all off, they had the AUDACITY to complain about formal night that evening in the dining room. When the busser walked up to the table after they had left, the look on his face almost drew me to tears. He smiled through it, & looked over at us with an exasperated look on his face. I can’t even begin to imagine what was going through his mind at that moment, what he thought of us.
Americans are so concerned with what’s going on in Washington D.C. and they couldn’t care less about what’s happening in the areas of poverty, not only in our own country, but around the world. I remember recalling that Jesus called us to help those who are in need, not fight incessantly about “who’s going to be the better president” or “why we should be allowed to carry guns into walmart without being harrassed.” What about those kids in our own backyard who sit on their cold floors at home, hungry and only wanting one thing: food? But sure, let’s cut taxes in public schools because we don’t think we should have to pay for the wrong doings of the parents who let their children starve. It infuriates me.
Let me ask you one question. WHO CARES? Who cares?! I’m sure that those who go to sleep hungry tonight could care less if you’re upset about who won the Iowa Caucasus or who topped your “worst person on Facebook” list for the day. America never ceases to be known around the world as the country who has everything but gives little to nothing. When did we become so selfish? Because I sure know that if Jesus were here today, walking around the streets of Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, New York, & heck, even Kansas City, He’d be so disappointed by our actions and lifestyles. Does that not mean anything? Does it not break your heart? Jesus would be hanging out with those who we constantly tear down and martyr because they don’t fit our “standards of living.” What about those men & women who sacrifice their OWN lives to help make this country a better place? Would you volunteer your life like they do? Or are you too absorbed in your arrogant lives to even consider such a thought?
I know this is harsh. I know that some of you will think it’s “unnecessary” to even post, because we have branches of government who’s job it is to take care of people like that. But the truth is, we’re called to love our neighbors as ourselves. If we’re constantly hating those who don’t believe the way we do instead of loving them and taking care of them, what good is that doing? And if we keep turning our heads at the documentaries and commercials that show those men, women, and children in third world countries starving because it’s “uncomfortable to look at” & “that shouldn’t be happening,” what good is that doing? Every 5 seconds, a child in OUR world dies of hunger. OUR world. Not THE world. OURS. What are you going to do? Think about it. Put your life into perspective. Think about what the true meaning of “What Would Jesus Do” means. Go outside of your comfort zone. Accept everybody. Love everybody. Help those who need you. They need us. All of us. Together.