Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tough Love

I’ve been e-mailing a long-distance friend about my July Peace trip to the Dominican Republic, and about life. He's actually been to the D.R. before and wrote some incredible thoughts about some of his learnings...

“… I'm so excited that you're getting to go to the D.R. I'm sure you know, but a lot of these people are very poor. Being around them has definitely been a test of the true character of my heart, because when I was there, I actually found that I was kind of disgusted by their poverty and ignorance. There are some things that the people there tend to do that are ugly to our culture. Without realizing it, I took on some of the attitude that a lot of my friends had in looking at these people as though they were sort of second-class, or semi-human. Sad, but true. But, thankfully, God always called me out. And I learned something about myself. It's easy for me to love the poor people in Kenya, because Africa is so exotic and beautiful and...distant, and I'm deeply interested in their culture. But I'm horrified by how my feelings can be toward people with similar struggles that are closer to home, and from a culture I'm disinterested in. We're not supposed to love people according to our own interests! And loving the people in the Dominican Republic, or Mexico, or Newark New Jersey, is no less important than loving the people in Kenya, England, or India. That's not to say it isn't harder, though.

I'm definitely learning that my view of love can be shallow at times. Paper-thin, in fact. It's easy to love someone because they are beautiful, or bright, or cheerful, or passionate. But what about truly loving people who are awkward, who are ignorant, or rude, or maybe not dazzling enough to keep you interested? That's what I've been learning. Oh, and that there is always, ALWAYS, much more depth and beauty to a person than meets the eye…."

What a powerful reminder to me...

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