But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:17-18
I was born privileged.
I was born into a caucasian family, of middle-class social “status”, if you will.
My father was in the US military and I was able to travel and receive “special” status for being part of a military family that served a great nation. Wherever I went, I was accepted. And I milked that for all it seemed worth at the time.
- I have never gone to bed hungry…
- I have never gone without clothing….
- I have always been cared for, loved, and had all of my basic needs and then some met to the fullest.
Yet I complained ~ a lot.
You see, I always wanted more than what I had. I wanted everything that I wanted and then some. Wasn’t I entitled to it, after all?
- I wanted acceptance.
- I wanted the kind of love that I thought worked best for ME.
- I had holes in my heart and nothing I tried to fill them with worked for very long.
- It was all about me and I had to do whatever it took to make my life how I wanted it to be.
The grass was always greener and I sought my special sunshine spot in the meadow ~ relentlessly.
- I didn’t really care what it would take as long as I got what I wanted.
- I didn’t think much outside of myself.
- I knew poverty and hopelessness existed all around me, but my own little life ruled everything.
I thought somehow that I was entitled, and even secretly “cast the first stone” at others for their own inadequacies or sins, all the while, sinning in my own special way and then justifying it.
I cared a little about others ~ but in reality, my own self preservation was the driving force behind all that I did.
Yes….I was born privileged. And I was born poor as well.
I wasn’t concerned with how people of other races or financial classes might feel when others made them feel out-of-place, not accepted, or even persecuted.
I took care of a few people who were needy – giving a bit of money and care here and there when it worked out for me and was overall convenient.
I proclaimed to follow Jesus Christ, but didn’t really give my whole life over to Him. Sure, I would accept “salvation”, but not make Him the King of my life and allow Him to make all the decisions.
I could still do that myself.
I told you: I was also born poor. I just didn’t know it yet.
So today I wish to say I’m sorry for the things that I have done in the past and the thoughtlessness that I portrayed all those years.
I’m sorry to all those who I could have cared for, loved and helped, but I chose not to.
I’m sorry to God for turning from Him for decades and ignoring those that he loves.
I am sorry for being born white, but not taking extra care to be grateful for what I have and take even more steps toward helping others who struggle because of their race.
I am sorry for being born into a middle-class family, who never really struggled to make ends meet, yet I turned a blind eye to the poverty right in front of me.
I am sorry for being a fake Christian all of those years and allowing legalism to rule, judgement to reign, and love to take a back seat to everything.
I am sorry for being truly poor and lacking love in my heart.
I can’t help how I was born – that I am white, that I was allowed to be educated, that I was able to travel and have all the comforts and needs that I took for granted to be met. But I could have helped how I saw it all. I could have shared more. I could have appreciated things so very much that I simply wanted to just give it away.
But I didn’t. Because I was truly poor.
I am now a very flawed work in progress and always will be until I go home to live with Jesus.
But I get it now.
- I understand that to follow Christ is to allow Him to live in and through us and that it’s not MY life.
- I understand that I am not able to turn a blind eye to others in need and it is my privilege and responsibility to help them.
- I understand that I am to discern the truth and stand firm in that truth, but always speak it or show it in love – REAL love.
- I understand that I was born rich by the world’s standards, but was truly poor without God.
- I understand that I can love others even when I disagree with them or their choices, because God loves me that same way.
And now I am truly rich.
I won’t make apologies for being a Christian and I won’t make apologies for standing for God’s truth in love. I won’t make apologies for not conforming to this world and its definitions of just what truth and love are ~ because I only follow the truth of Jesus.
But I do apologize for my lack of giving and lack of love and care at times.
I do apologize for turning a blind eye.
I do apologize for pretending to be rich, but really being poor in my heart.
So if you find yourself privileged but knowing in reality that you are poor, dear friend?
Turn to Jesus, won’t you?
If you find yourself under-privileged, but truly rich because Christ lives within you:
Celebrate and praise Him with me, won’t you?
If you feel lost, misunderstood, persecuted, terrorized, because of race, social disagreements, spiritual arguments, bickering and fighting, or for any reason under the sun…
Won’t you turn to the One who understands it all? Jesus Christ!
We all must seek to find true salvation, understanding and love through Jesus Christ and Him alone.
Then we truly have something wonderful to share with others. Then we are truly rich.
We can’t make everyone feel understood or loved all the time in spite of all of our own sins ~ only He can do that. But maybe, just maybe, He can do some of it in and through us.
We can’t live by truth and do so in love without Christ.
We can pretend ~ just like I pretended to be privileged and rich when I was so very bankrupt inside.
But it won’t last.
All the other stuff is temporary and doesn’t really mean we are rich anyway.
But in Christ, we are both privileged and we are rich.
Let us go forth and share that with others!
‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:39-40
...that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.…Colossians 2:2-3