Though facing difficult circumstances in this country, Haiti, we want to remain oddly hopeful. Crisis offers danger but also opportunity. Courageous leadership sees beyond the danger to leverage the hidden opportunity for change. Haiti is hurting and we can choose to be negative or find a way to help. Together we will look for meaningful opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. The past months has left our team frustrated, warn, discouraged and so often perplexed. We just don’t get why our neighbors in Haiti would lash out and destroy expensive property items of the ones who live among them and who reach out and serve them?
We are making attempts to love and the response is to unleash their emotions by throwing rocks and destroying solar panels or by tearing down a sign or by painting graffiti over our walls. What do they want? Well, what they want is for the ‘white’ American group to do what every other white American group has done. GIVE them for nothing what they could do for themselves.
They have asked us for light posts on the street and for us to provide electricity, so they can have light in the night. We have met with them, we have asked for a proposal of what it would take to construct a pole and install a light unit and then what it would take to sustainably maintain that light. They have been conditioned to expect from “mission groups” that we are there to provide whatever they want.
When we don’t perform or we attempt to engage in meaningful and collaborative dialogue they look at us with glazed over eyes because they do not know anything of this sort of rationale. In the country of Haiti, a voice that is to be heard by “authority’ and “people of privilege” will only be heard through a violent demonstration. It is not right, but it is their way. Their needs are so great, the families and communities are so poor and when a group resides within their reach with resources they are confused.
Why don’t we just give it to them. What do they need? However, the issue is not really about what they need. The people need light in the night. They might also legitimately need a plethora of material things. The issue is how do they civilly and respectfully go about getting what they need. Loving communication remains the root of truth for those of us committed to helping the people of Haiti help themselves. We are there to come along side, not to assist and encourage their issues of entitlement. None of us are entitled. We are responsible with the talents (time, talent, treasure) that God has entrusted to us. How will we use it?
First it must honor Him. Second we must help those who cannot help themselves and then we must love our neighbors. Love is an action. Love is selfless. Love is unconditional. Love holds no record of past accounts. Love is HARD and Haiti is HARD. Loving by assisting is the answer. We must stay the right course and come alongside of rather than lower our standards and cave in when the going gets rough.
As a parent, when a child rebels we don’t lower the standard. We persistently hold on to truth and pray for wisdom and strength as the child throws temper tantrums in order to get what they want. When the child gains composure we sit them down and discipline/train them on what just happened. This is not the way life works. What people want might not be bad, but how they are expressing themselves and how they are trying to get what they want is not the way to go toward achieving your want or even need. Finding the balance in the spirit of wisdom and love. As a parent who has no choice but to stay the course, neither do those of us who choose to engage in relationships.
Relationship is difficult and conflict resolution ONLY happens when we get THROUGH the “tunnel of chaos.” No one likes being in the tunnel where the fight is happening. We can retreat, that is an option. We can back up and run from the fight, because the fight is no fun. The reality of that choice is that we sacrifice authentic relationship. We must work through it. Again, the answer is dignified leadership. We must come together and lay aside our “rights” and listen to one another. We must all be willing to help to accomplish our goals. The rule of thumb is that we should NOT do for others what they can do for themselves. We must find out what each group can do. What resources do you have? Time? Labor? Materials? Money? All must be willing to give and sacrifice if this is truly a community need. Giving everything to someone equates to a value of zero on the dignity meter. Accomplishment is worth something. Let’s work together to find solutions for the better good of each other and our community. Let’s love more deeply.
Jesus laid down his life and only offered words of humility to His heavenly Father about the ones who were persecuting Him the most. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And then He inspired men to write down words of wisdom to help us do this better. THE DESCRIPTION OF LOVE (1 Corinthians 13):
Love is Patient v.4 A person who is wronged and has the power to retaliate, but doesn’t. Joseph is a good example. Matt. 1:18-19
Love is Kind v.4 A person who lives to benefit others by being useful to them
Love does not Envy v.4 Jealousy desires to have the same thing another has. Envy tries to deprive another of what they already have. The concept describes a person who will not try to deprive you of something due to jealousy
Love does not Boast v.4 A big “windbag” – Describes someone who does not verbalize their own accomplishments in order to make themselves look superior or make you look inferior.
Love is not Proud v.4 Boasting is the verbal action of Pride. Pride is an inner attitude – It describes a person who does not think that they are better than you and who would rather focus attention on you than themselves
Love is not Rude v5 To act in an unbecoming manner. Lack of manners and self-discipline. It describes a person who has excellent manners toward you. They treat you with respect.
Love is not Self-Seeking v.5 Describes a person who is not interested in their own things, but rather those things that interest you. Phil 2:3-4
Love is not Easily Angered v.5 A sudden outburst- It describes a person who does not get angry easily and who is not always ready to fight or argue at the drop of a hat.
Love Keeps No Record Of Wrongs v. 5 To keep a mathematical calculation of being wronged. It is the same word used of God’s forgiveness- It describes a person who does not keep a mental record of what you have done wrong in order to use against you in the future
Love does not Delight In Evil v.6 Unrighteousness or Sin – It describes a person who does not want sin in their life or relationship to defeat us
Love Rejoices With The Truth v.6 It describes a person who wants to see the truth of God’s Word lived out
Love Protects v.7 Describes a person who doesn’t drag your faults in front of others
Love Trusts v.7 Describes a person who believes in you and is not always suspicious of you
Love Hopes v.7 Describes a person who does not bail out at the first mistake or misfortune
Love Perseveres v.7 Describes a person who is willing to endure great opposition and still love you
Love Never Fails v.8 Describes a person for whose love never falls to ruin or destruction
LOVE is hard. At best we are capable of humanly loving on 2 out of 3 levels of biblical love.
1. Eros – We can physically and intimately love another human 2. Phileo – We can physically love a brother…. ‘I love you man’ But the third kind ONLY comes from God. We can only achieve it IN relationship and in perfect union with God. Only those who have GOD are capable of this kind of love. 3. Agape – God’s unconditional love. That He loves us in spite of us.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.