Living In A World Of One-Way Love
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Politics

Living In A World Of One-Way Love

The one thing we're forgetting in the fight for human rights and generosity.

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Living In A World Of One-Way Love
Time Out London
Sheppard sat on a stool at the bar that divided the kitchen in half, eating his cereal out of the individual pasteboard box it came in. He ate mechanically, his eyes on the child, who was wandering from cabinet to cabinet in the panelled kitchen, collecting the ingredients for his breakfast. He was a stocky blond boy of ten. Sheppard kept his intense blue eyes fixed on him. The boy's future was written in his face. He would be a banker. No, worse. He would operate a small loan company. All he wanted for the child was that he be good and unselfish and neither seemed likely...
Sheppard was City Recreational Director. On Saturdays he worked at the reformatory as a counselor, receiving nothing for it but the satisfaction of knowing he was helping boys no one else cared about. (Flannery O'Connor, The Lame Shall Enter First )

Flannery O'Connor continues to describe Sheppard as a good man. He cares deeply for the success of an underprivileged child who is forced to eat out of the dumpster. He does everything for this young boy--he gives him food, an education, he even offers his own home to the child. He sacrifices time and money for a kid nobody else cared about. He is a savior to a young boy.

And meanwhile, this savior despises his own son who eats chocolate cake for breakfast while another boy eats from the dumpster. He hates his son, who is egotistical and utterly selfish, who has no sense of what sacrifice even means.

Sheppard is a man who wants to be a hero. So he loves and cares for the stranger at his door just as he ought to, but still manages to despise his only son. In other words, he is like most of us.

So many of us are passionate about human rights and woman's rights and helping those who are suffering in countries around the world. We want the kid eating out of a dumpster to succeed and we want to give him an education. And I applaud these efforts. I applaud the efforts of people across the states and the world who care so deeply about suffering.

But I also know that many of these people, though they care so deeply about the stranger at their door and the needy across the world, can, like Sheppard, easily hate their brothers, their close friends, and the people they have known their whole lives.

Perhaps it's the grandma at church who supported Trump. Or maybe it's your best friend who voted for Hillary. Maybe your dad lands on the other side of the immigration debate. Or your mom isn't willing to help you serve at the local homeless shelter.

Jesus said that the poor will always be with us (Mark 14:7). And there will also be people who will pass over the poor. I know only too well that there are people like this and poverty and human rights are big issues. These will always be a problem. And it will always be a problem which needs to be fought. I am also aware of hundreds of thousands of people across the globe who are fighting this battle.But in the midst of our fight, we have made our brother our enemy and have begun to hate our own family members while we love the person across the world. We should give money to children in Africa and we should serve in homeless shelters but we must necessarily begin this service in our own homes. These people do not struggle with the love of the far off. They struggle with the love of our brother and sister. In other words, we live in a world of one-way love. Deuteronomy 15:11 says, "Therefore I command you, 'You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.' " It is our duty as Christians to open wide our hand to the poor and needy. And it is just as much our duty to open wide our hand to our brothers and sisters.
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