Matthew 7:3-5 – Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (NIV)
A recent visit of a friend from Central America provided an opportunity to look at photos of shared experiences. Although each of us remembered things in the same photo differently, we agreed it was like a trip back in time and into Central American life. Yes, it is true that I spent ten years living in Central America, learning about the life of the poor and the influence of the powerful.
It had been my goal to "help" the poor to realize their dreams — perhaps even to help youth, many of whom were orphaned following a long civil war, to grow, to receive education, and to obtain skills and employment. Our goal was self-sufficiency and sustainability. We in the social project world call it "enabling". But in return, I was transformed.
It is true that the poor have dreams which are thwarted, often because they are not able to manage the country's systems. In frustration, they grow angry, march for justice, and rebel, or worse. But their humble, simple faith, moment by moment, in God's hand ever present, and their trust in His will for their lives are enough to change one's soul. Broken hearts are healed by the balm of kind words, love, patience, and constant hope, and by their belief in me as God's child sent to them, if only for a time.
So here I am in Canada once again. Four seasons replace tropical sunshine. Individuality is the rule. Achieving business deadlines replaces the priority and willingness to take time to share, care, and show love to all. But my soul is forever changed, as I can more easily appreciate my blessings in the small moments in my relationships. For God is here too!
Prayer: Dear Lord, be with those who have little in material possessions and lack work or enough to eat. Help us to develop the positive spirit of hope that these people share moment by moment. Help us to be recycled in Your love. Amen.