Thursday, April 15, 2010

Are We Too Blind To See?

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
-- James 2:15-17

The crappiest season of American Idol actually got my brain working as I listened to Big Mike sing "In The Ghetto". (See YouTube clip of his performance below. You'll find the original version from Elvis Presley and the lyrics at the bottom of this post.)

You've seen it as you drive out of the church parking lot. The sign that says, "You're entering your mission field." Instead how about a sign that says, "You've just left your mission field. Did you do anything about it?" Let me be more specific. Shame on you and me when we know that someone from our church is going through a struggle and we do absolutely nothing about it.

A single mom and son living in a car. A man getting ready to walk out on his wife and family. A family losing their home. Someone who hasn't been to your small group or church for several weeks. A young boy without a father. A woman who fell off the wagon. The hungry homeless man sitting in the back row. The wife of a man who was arrested for child abuse. The pregnant teenage girl. The woman who gave up her baby for adoption. The couple that lost their son in a motorcycle accident. The man that served coffee every Sunday morning that lost his wife to cancer. The young boy crying in the lobby because he misses his dad. The man battling severe depression and may end his life later that day. The wife getting ready to have an affair. The husband who doesn't care.

I pray that you and I do something. Stop and hold their hand. Make a phone call. Invite them to lunch. Hold them. Pray with them. Listen. Anything is better than turning our heads and looking the other way.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

-- Edmund Burke

“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result”
-- Mahatma Gandhi

"My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt”
-- Anna Sewell

"If we worry too much about ourselves, we won't have time for others."
-- Mother Teresa

As the snow flies
On a cold and gray Chicago mornin'
A poor little baby child is born
In the ghetto
And his mama cries
'cause if there's one thing that she don't need
it's another hungry mouth to feed
In the ghetto

People, don't you understand
the child needs a helping hand
or he'll grow to be an angry young man some day
Take a look at you and me,
are we too blind to see,
do we simply turn our heads
and look the other way

Well the world turns
and a hungry little boy with a runny nose
plays in the street as the cold wind blows
In the ghetto

And his hunger burns
so he starts to roam the streets at night
and he learns how to steal
and he learns how to fight
In the ghetto

Then one night in desperation
a young man breaks away
He buys a gun, steals a car,
tries to run, but he don't get far
And his mama cries

As a crowd gathers 'round an angry young man
face down on the street with a gun in his hand
In the ghetto

As her young man dies,
on a cold and gray Chicago mornin',
another little baby child is born
In the ghetto


  1. I hadn't thought about this song in a long time. One of my sorrows in life is that because I'm not God, I can't respond to all the needs around me. I could say that because I can't do everything, why do anything? I refuse that.

    So I try to respond, maybe where no one else does. Maybe where I think I have a special gift to meet a special need. I push myself to the limits to extend love and light and life of my Lord to those who need it.

    It hurts to ignore the needs I can't address as one person. It hurts more to know that someone else could address them but won't, because of selfishness, laziness, apathy. I know that hurts you too, Mike. So I trust you'll pray with me, in the words of Jesus, "Lord of the Harvest, the fields are white. Please send laborers."

    I love you, Mike!