Depraved Indifference

I walked into the government-run orphanage, feeling fully prepared for the day: the memories of this place from last year were far worse than anything I would see, and thus I was prepared to take on the day.  But somehow, even knowing the lives of these children have changed drastically for the better over the last year did not remove the knot in my stomach as we spent the day in circumstances no child should ever live in.  I thought that seeing the improvements would remove the nausea caused by the unclean conditions, and the  heart-ache from knowing that these broken lives have left broken hearts in each child.

I learned  a lot more about where the children come from at this home: they are categorized either as a lost child, or one given by the court systems. Those given by the courts have been removed from their homes by social services and are staying at the children’s home for a temporary but often indefinite amount of time. The lost children, if they have a story, have many times been orphaned and/or abandoned. Their pictures are put in the newspaper and once in a while a parent will show up to claim them after weeks and months, even years.

The children no longer have the complete lack of all hope written across their faces, but there is still a guarded uncertainty in their eyes and an unwillingness to trust because those they’ve trusted before have left them here alone.  There is a 3 year old boy named Edwin who has been there for a little while, he is a lost child, but unlike most of the children who are fairly independent, he constantly wants to be held, needs someone with him at all times. As I held him I couldn’t help but wonder what he’s been through, what he thinks and fears and if he feels all alone. And then I thought, “What if this were my little brother? What if this were Christopher or David? To what lengths would I go to make sure he was never left alone in this place?”  And if I care that much about my family, how much more does the Lord care for His children? How much more does His heart break at their tears, and to what lengths would He ask me to go for His beloved children?

Matthew 25:45 says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”

Sometimes I wonder how even in Kenya, where I am trying to love and serve God’s people, I can still suffer from depraved indifference.  Maybe it’s easy in the US, where I’m removed from the realities of extreme poverty, to turn the other way and forget those who are suffering around the world.  But even here I think we can become numb; to accept the tragedies and go home to sleep peacefully in our comfortable lives rather than having our hearts broken for the things that break the Lord’s and allowing that to change our lives.

“Do we carry a burden when we go home tonight where we grieve over the fact that those children are God’s children? …  I’m willing, burden me.”

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~ by eileendekker on July 8, 2011.

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