I was going to write about how amazing my housemates are, about how “life together” with them is such a blessing and such a great example of what, i believe, God has always intended for us, as human beings, to experience. I was going to write something witty and clever, something feel-good and heart-warming… but all i can think about is the video i just got done watching. It was about Liberia.
For those of you who don’t know, Liberia is the third poorest country in the world, preceded only by Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (which, for the record, are also countries in Africa). Liberia is located along the western coast of Africa and the average income in Liberia is $300 a year. It has gone through at least two civil wars in the last 20 years alone, so this country has really seen better days. The video I watched was about the ex-generals of the rebel forces during the civil wars and the conditions of the country after the wars ended. There were thousands of children forced into being soldiers to fight for this rebel cause, forced to kill or be killed, to rape. to eat human flesh. to commit such atrocities that no child should ever have to see, much less experience for themselves or inflict on another.
As I watched this video, i thought about the blog i was intending to write. I even attempted to write it, but the words were just stuck in my fingers, unable to make it to the keyboard. All I could think about was what I had seen and heard. How can conditions like that exist while I sit warm and free on the floor in my bedroom, listening to my iPod, blissfully ignorant and untouched by those conditions? I know that many people would watch that video and think, “How can a kind and loving God allow such things to go on?” My question is instead, “How can people, part of the Body of Christ, authorized and empowered to bring freedom and healing to the world, just stand by and allow such things to go on?” The last time I checked, Jesus gave US the authority and power to do everything He did, and more! He has been given all the authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) and He chose us! He mobilized us. He told us to go. He could have come up with the absolutely perfect plan of reaching a broken world, and He DID: us.
You know what? I do live in a household of really wonderful people! They love Jesus with all of their hearts, and they spend every single day of their existence pursuing what it means to carry out the very commandment He gave us. They know what it’s like to see injustice happen, to feel the burden of that injustice, and to intercede for change. They know what it means to labor and groan for a broken world. They do not settle for mediocrity. They do not settle for the status quo. They do not settle. period. They strive and push and press in and fight and wrestle for the Kingdom of heaven to be realized a hundred percent here. On earth. In California. In Redlands. In our house. I am so blessed to live with such people! I take them for granted daily, and I definitely do not pray for, encourage, or love them as much as I should. You know what? The Kingdom of heaven starts with us. It starts with our house. It starts with these people. In this place. At this time. It starts with you. Wherever you are. Whoever you live with or around. We can never aspire to reach places like Liberia and love them and bring healing to them, until we are capable of loving each other, living with each other, and put each other before ourselves. “Life together” is what will heal the world. Being involved in other people’s lives is what will bring justice. Knowing what it’s like to live the same life as those you “feel led to minister to” is what will bring healing and mercy and justice to a broken world in desperate need of Jesus. Western culture is typically so “me” focused. we are so obsessed with achieving the American dream and climbing the ladder of success, we don’t care about the little people an ocean away who are literally eating each other and dying of curable diseases like malaria because of corrupt governments (funded and fueled by the United States, in many cases. and definitely ignored by the United Nations) and abject poverty. We’re way too busy making sure we recorded last week’s episode of Jersey Shore to watch a short video about broken nations who don’t even have electricity, much less TV. This will NEVER change until WE do, until we are willing to invest in those around us, living in the houses next to us, the people at work, school, etc. My housemates are ones who are going to change the world. Yep, they sure are.