I give a lot of thought to all the many things wrong with the book, When Helping Hurts, by Corbett and Fikkert, and there are many. That book is so damaging on so many levels, and I see deeper into that every time I give it thought. After re-reading it two times again in recent weeks, as part of my research into a much bigger, forthcoming project, I am amazed at how my church doesn’t react against it. Point being: It is fresh on my mind again, and I am more stirred up by it than ever.
However, though my thoughts today are formed in part by reaction to that book, that is not actually what I want to talk about. I bring it up merely to lay down this marker: Seeking salvation in banks, low interest loans, and business principles (no matter how baptized you get them) is just not the healing touch of Jesus. It’s actually like the sterile gloves your healthcare provider puts on before touching you in an effort not to get your germs. There is only so deep your doctor wants to get into your story, and your illness is not something she wants to share.
Fair enough, doc. I don’t blame you. But then my doctor is not confused about the difference between his healing touch and that of Jesus. Jesus heals in ways they don’t teach in medical school, and not only that, but he actually touches the leper (Matt. 8:3) and spits on a blind man’s eyes (Mark 7:33) all of it as part of his healing touch. Jesus took our germs and our sins on himself (1 Pet. 2:24) when he died giving us salvation. And your story and mine became his, as his story became ours.
I have these homeless children living with me in the Fat Beggars Home for Widows, Orphans, and Sojourners. Most of them come/have come at a very early age – usually within days of birth. Yet it takes years, usually, before we know the disposition of their case. Sometimes they go “home”. But by that time, “home” is here. Even when it’s the good and right decision, by that time there is pain in the healing.
We share a lot of germs! (Believe me! Toddlers ooze a lot of snot and other things, and we use a lot of cleaning solution trying to manage it all.)
As I hear it from the professionals, and from coursework in Sociology, in our culture (I am guessing others too) when you make eye-contact with strangers, it signals involvement. But in our culture, we prefer anonymity, autonomy, independence and individuality. All of that is breached with eye-contact, and it becomes hard to rid the human bond already starting to form once this shell is breached.
Much better to send a bum to a homeless shelter than to take him home with you. You will never get rid of him if you do that. Much better to purchase him a sandwich so you can feel good that the money was used for food than to actually share the meal with that bag lady. Even my grandmother knew this stuff, but now we have books, coffee shops, and whole parachurch industries relieving us of this burden and providing excuse for not getting involved.
But when it comes to children, you just can’t do that. If you look into their eyes, you are hooked, and you know it. Thus you try not to for all you are worth. If you look, this is going to change things. Your life will no longer be your own. Your story will now be OUR story. And who knows who is writing that???
I have these kids. This home is bursting at the seams, and I am the door keeper at the House of God. And there is another one knocking. Damaged, deeply. I am not at liberty to tell the details, nor should I. But like all the others with very rare exception, if I did tell you, you would be shocked. And this one knocking now threatens to make his story OUR story too. And who knows who is writing it?
But as the Good Book warns us, the door keeper is supposed to keep alert. We do not know the day or hour when the Master returns. May I be found alert and ready. May I be found feeding the sheep when the Master arrives. May I definitely not be found causing one of these little ones to stumble, but rather helping to form Jesus in the lives around me. May His story become our story, and may our story become OUR story.
We don’t want plastic gloves for this! Not when you really think about it.
Think about it….