My friend Patrick posted this statement in a blog post a few years, ago, while in Uganda with his missionary group:
“They must not accept. We must not accept – the mud hut of Uganda.” It’s a powerful statement.
People are clever. We can become enamored of this innate cleverness to the point of making a false god of its many, clever “creations”. All being feeble fabrications of hubris and fear.
For example, there exists self-identifying Christians who believe themselves righteous, standing in their constructed image of God and interpretation of His Word to make statements such as: “They find joy in their poverty. They don’t really know any different and the huts are fine.”
Far from being an unusual statement, it is because of assertions of faith such as these, made by people disobediently abusing the name of Christ that are blindly and recklessly deceiving people who might otherwise come to know God by fabricating a Christ made in their own image–a personal savior that conveniently looks and acts and approves of folks that look, behave, and believe just like them.
How many souls are lost that much longer because they trusted that the self identified Christian accurately represented Christianity. They listened and they watched in good faith, determining that they could not identify with Christ as He had been represented.
They were barred from knowing Christ by the arrogance of one or many people wearing a cloak of authority in direct disobedience to God’s Word.
Unlike the cunningly clever manifestations of the human mind, God’s Word is constant and unambiguous.
God detests evil. Poverty, starvation, malnutrition, homelessness, etc. are human evils. They are human evils because human beings are 100% accountable for their existence. We are collectively 100% accountable for their existence because all of these evils are 100% correctable. They exist because we allow them to exist.
In my humble opinion, every human being who has the Holy Spirit indwelling is *convicted* of this understanding. Some respond with emotion, some respond with denial or rationalization, some respond with clever lies they tell themselves that allow them to continue in their faith as it conforms to their preference.
All of these responses are failures of faith. When we misrepresent them as Christian responses, they become a false witness. The Holy Spirit convicts us with this awareness. It hurts. It hurts because as Christians we are compelled to become like Christ. We are governed by God’s Word that declares that His hatred of evil must be our hatred of evil.
We think we see the suffering these evils inflict on the people experiencing poverty, persecution, starvation, or living in a mud hut. That’s an illusion. Suffering is personal.
What we really see is a mirror. It reflects our own suffering as believers in Christ who are conscious of evil that we not only tolerate to exist, but are each individually responsible for existing. Judas Iscariot himself could not have betrayed Jesus any worse.
But, wait..you might say..I’m not ok with this evil! I’m not like those Christian brothers and sisters who are in the pride of sin.
Or, more to the point, What do you think I am? My brother’s keeper?
Damn straight we’re our brother’s keeper! Every time some ridiculously reckless statement falls out of the mouth of our brothers and sisters in Christ it is our DUTY to rebuke it because if we don’t that lie will become the abomination that leads others away. And we know what God has to say about that.
Ironically, the power of the Patrick’s statement is in the simple truth. God’s truth says that we must never accept evil. We must never allow evil to go unnamed and we must never tolerate one soul being lost to God by evil done in His name.
As a body, we better figure this out and realize just how bold every one us needs become in our faith and get comfortable with being uncomfortable with who and what we really are so we can help our brother get with the actual program. The program according to God, not ourselves.