Maybe I should stop reading the news. Maybe it's just too depressing, too disturbing, too filled with strong evidence that we live in a fallen world.
Two stories really shook me up this week. The first was the story out of China of a toddler, hit by two different vans, left bleeding in the street while 18 people walked, bicycled, and strolled past her broken body. Security cameras caught these people turning and looking, practically stepping over her, clearly aware of the child injured so badly that news stations blurred the image to spare us the view. But before we condemn them, we should recognize - this could have happened anywhere. China has not cornered the market on heartless insensitivity to children.
The second story was that of young girls in India participating in a 're-naming' ceremony. You see, their parents had looked upon them at the moment of their birth and chose to name them "Unwanted" in Hindi. Can you imagine? I think of the moment when I gazed into the precious face of each of my children and try to conjure up what circumstance, what horrible life history, could cause a person in that moment to hang such a hideous epithet on their own child. The government, recognizing that their society is doomed if it continues in its current trend toward a preponderance of males, is trying to right this wrong and allow these girls to select their own name - trying to give them hope to persevere in a very difficult life.
I attended a lecture recently on globalization - working in a 'flatter' world. The idea is simple and pervasive - the differences between us are disappearing. We are becoming one society - whether we like it or not. These news stories from the other side of the globe are not about 'them' and 'us' - they are all about us. The human race. Do we need any further evidence that we live in a fallen world? That we are sinful people? That we desperately need a savior? Not a savior - THE savior?
Juxtaposed against these news stories is a story from our mission team's recent trip to India - about a young girl who suffered from an infection that prevented her from being allowed into the building they were teaching and preaching in. So she stood by the window, listening, watching - taking it all in. For six hours she stood there. Can you imagine? We complain about standing in line for 20 minutes to spend $5 to ride a two-minute thrill ride at the fair!
You see, the world is not only desperately in need - many of them KNOW they are in need. They know they are sinful. They want the forgiveness provided through Jesus, but have never heard the truth. Another heartbreaking story from their trip to India was the sight they saw of people walking as much as thirty miles, barefoot, because they believed that this pilgrimage would bring them forgiveness for their sins!
Of course, there are millions who have heard. Who don't believe they need a savior. They spend their lives happily comparing themselves to 'the next guy.' You know what I mean, "I'm as good as the next guy." Problem is - the next guy is sinful too! They're like the Pharisee who puffed out his chest in pride and said, "Thank God I'm not like that tax collector"; when in reality they are so much worse.
So which are you? Are you the careless driver, leaving a trail of wrecked lives behind you and ignoring it as you go on with your life? The heartless bystander ignoring someone in obvious need? The child named "Unwanted" searching for someone to love you? The parent who allowed the cares of the world to rob the most precious blessing from your life? The girl at the window, eager to hear the truth? The tax collector repenting with tears or the Pharisee departing unjustified?
Whoever you are - Jesus is waiting for you.