I don’t normally like to give press to negativity. When someone does or says something that is completely ignorant, to spend time addressing it usually just gives credence to the person. In other words, they are receiving the attention they are craving. But I just couldn’t let this one pass without a mention.
Our receptionist received a call yesterday from a person who is not connected with our church. This guy was apparently in a hospital (OK, I feel sorry for him) and was reading through a newspaper. We recently received some good coverage about our Thanksgiving trip to Guatemala. You can read the story here. The guy calling was very upset that we had the nerve to help needy kids in a foreign country. He made the assumption that we were only helping kids in foreign countries and not the needy people in our country. He made the statement that we were encouraging immigration. He accused us of creating more problems than we are fixing. And he told us that our church can just go to hell. Well Merry Christmas to you, too!
Here is the thing: the world is full of crazies and this guy was just another in the long line. But I can’t help but get a little agitated when someone with nothing better to do than be a pain in the neck spends their time trying to discourage others who have better things to do. What kind of a miserable wretch lives life for that purpose?
To clear the record, we do give away a lot of support to needy people in our country. We are actively involved in addressing the needs of our community. We put clothes and shoes on North American kids, also. This holiday season, our church has fed more families in our neighborhood than at any time in our history. So let it be said, Maranatha cares about people everywhere.
And secondly, our efforts to help children in other countries is in no way a statement regarding our position on immigration. To assume so is to be very shallow. While I have some less than popular opinions about immigration, we are feeding hungry kids because if we don’t, they will starve. I don’t want to see kids getting diseases because they have no shoes to wear. The thought of a child being cold when I have too many clothes is not pleasant. That’s it, that is our motivation. Jesus told us to take care of them and we are.
Here is my favorite part: Scripture tells us that when something like this happens, you know you are doing the right thing. Matthew 5:11-12 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.” (NLT) So this call was really good news. No ugly feedback means no life-change.
Sorry dude, you lose! One of the best things we have done this year to is to let people everywhere know that God loves them and so do we.
So, regardless of this guy’s wishes, I don’t think our entire church is going to hell. Some of us may, but it will have nothing to do with who we helped. It will have to do with our rejection of Jesus. And if that is the criterion by which we will all be judged, I think our friendly caller may be in a bit of trouble himself.
Merry Christmas, everyone!