Comparisons to make the heart ache

Today, I became a wrestler. Actually, over the last months. The more I read into the history of the DRCongo, the more I become entangled in a mental wrestling match with the West’s popular view of that nation and its people.

We hear that the DRC is a land of darkness. Newspaper articles focusing on the Congo are usually ones about war, or associated atrocities. And yet, just over a hundred years ago, similar atrocities were being committed against the Congolese by the Belgians (as only one example, thousands upon thousands of people with one hand being cut off). How can we say that the Congolese have black hearts, and that it is a land of darkness, when it was foreigners that taught them how to commit such horrors, or commit them on such a grand scale?

As an “international community” we also seem to have given up on the DRCongo coming out of its corruption and continual wars. We hear talk of rape and plunder and we write them off as a hopeless case. And yet, what of the other African nations around them that are making rapid progress? And how can we write them off, only 53 years post independence, when it took European nations hundreds of years to come to their current state of governance and even then it is only tight legislation that prevents larger scale corruption?

Then today, I read an article that Belgium has legalised euthanasia for children! The children at risk as a result of these new laws are those with illnesses and disabilities. And yet we pass judgment on communities in South Africa that still believe children with disabilities are cursed and abandon them to death. It is a terrible practise that these children are abandoned, yes, but what I struggle with is that these stories make press whilst ones of legalised child-euthanasia in Belgium go relatively unpublicised.

Are we really this biased? Is it just the fault of the press? Is it their fault we hear the good side of one country’s coin and the bad side of another’s coin? Do we let the press drain us of our hope for change? What can we do as individuals?

We can keep praying. We can keep our hope alive. We can keep believing for change. We can publicise the articles of hope that we come across, as well as the ones of injustice – no matter which country they’re about. We can allow ourselves to be moved by stories of triumph and those of heartache.

And when it all gets too much for us, we can turn back to God’s Word for strength and renewed hope:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:3-7)

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  (1 Corinthians 15:19-20)

. . . Rather train yourself for godliness;  for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come . . . For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:7-10)

A link to an article about the euthanasia bill that I mentioned:

http://www.lifenews.com/2013/12/12/belgium-senate-approves-measure-allowing-doctors-to-euthanize-children/ 

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