On Human Suffering

IMG_1956I have a book in my possession “Armenian Massacres and Turkish Tyranny” published in 1896, written by Fredrick Greene, MA. He was an eyewitness to a lot of what he wrote about and the rest came from compiling articles that British journalists had written. These journalists were so incensed at what they saw happening to the Armenian people they wrote this book to try and bring the atrocities to the attention of the world. I turned a few pages and saw the dedication says, “To the memory of the Christians Massacred in Armenia by the Sword of the Mohammed this book is dedicated”, by the Publishers.

There are a number of pictures, gruesome portrayals of terrible deeds done to innocent people but that is not what is I want to talk about right now.

As I flipped through the book my breath caught as I saw pressed between the pages of 378 and 379 the perfect form of a tiny orchid, now browned by time and too delicate for me to touch even though I felt the small dried flower calling out to me as if it wanted to tell me its story. I looked it and tears sprang to my eyes as I wondered about the hands that had placed it there, what was the sentiment attached to it? Was it from a wedding bouquet, or a corsage given to a young lady preparing for a dance? Did this girl lose someone in these massacres or in the World War that followed, the one where Hitler took a page from the plans of the Sword of Mohammed to slaughter Armenians and used it against the Jews?

There are bones and blood crying out for vengeance from people who were sold by human traffickers to masters who beat them and put them in chains of slavery; Christians convinced to give up their weapons by the government under the promise of protection and then boarded up in churches and burned alive and worse; those that were cooked in the ovens of a dictator trying to rid the world of every Jewish person that could be ferreted out of their hiding places and killing anyone willing to try and hide them.

It would be horrible to remember these things even if we knew that nothing like that would ever happen again, but my friend, it is still happening all over the world. Christians are being killed for their belief in Jesus Christ the Son of God, men, women and children are being kidnapped in this country and used as sex slaves, made into drug addicts in order to gain their cooperation, taken to cities that are hosting conventions and major sports events and sold. All for the pleasure of some depraved person willing to take the advantage of a poor lost soul.

Are we guilty?

I don’t know, have you ever hired a prostitute, bought drugs on the street, let someone make fun of a person because of their color or religion? If you answer yes to any of those things then you are guilty of helping to perpetuate this type of thing. Hebrews 11:38-40 “There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them! —Making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world. Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.”

If anyone finds a piece of my history after I am gone, I would hope they would know I tried to help the lost at any cost.

Pray for your fellowman, not just your own countrymen but also your Earth Mates and while you’re at it, pray for peace!

4 Replies to “On Human Suffering”

  1. When I was young, I bought and sold drugs. (Technically, it was not me SELLING them, but I played a key role.) And I have two shames in my life that I choke on to recall. The night I sold drugs to some young parents in front of their small children and the afternoon I murdered a woman in an empty lot for the amusement of my friends.

    Drugs:

    My memory is really old and fading now, but I have a short clip running in my mind. I can see me making introductions between my drug dealer and a young couple in their mid 20’s in the kitchen of their humble home. They had two small children, one still in diapers, I think, running around their knees as my dealer negotiated a deal. Suddenly the young father snaps at the children to leave the room because “Mom and Daddy are doing grown up stuff right now!”

    That sentence pierces me even 25 years later. I confess it here (not the first or last time) and cringe as I look at my young self in that picture. I suddenly saw the range of damage I was doing to my community, to children, and to myself. I hated myself that night. And inside of another year, I put dope in my past and turned to LIVING my life rather than killing it.

    Murder:

    Some will say I did not murder the woman, but I think I did. I cannot develop the whole story in a comment post, but suffice it to say, I was riding in the back seat of my best friend’s car one day after school circa springtime 1987. I was feeling like the third wheel suddenly, as we had picked up another friend who presented a threat to my social prestige. (Oh, my God. If I could have known then how little that would matter to me today!!!) And I saw what I thought was an opportunity to elevate my status there in the back seat by tearing down another person.

    We were passing by an empty lot a couple of blocks away from a grocery store. With the window down, I could see a large woman walking through the lot caring all the groceries she could manage. It was obvious she did not have a car, and she appeared to be rather poor. And at 30 mph, I yelled out the window at her that she deserved to be poor and walk her groceries home because she was so fat and ugly that no one would love her. AND, btw, this is the sanitized version of that message!

    With that, we were gone. Never to see her again. I have no idea what she did next. But I remember settling back in my seat as the car moved away and trying to relish the chuckle I barely managed to induce in my friends. They really were not so impressed. And really, I soaked in the evil that I had just spewed. I felt it. And as I put myself in her shoes, I thought I might go home and cut my wrists. The fact that I don’t really think she actually did, is actually a presumption I make to help myself feel better. For I don’t actually know that she did not. And if she did, then I am guilty of driving her over that edge.

    I really do not think about my guilt every day. I have moved on. But I do pause to reflect on these two moments from time to time. They are two moments that I was at my lowest ever. They are not the only ones, but two of the more poignant among those that I regret and feel deep remorse about.

    I hope that the broken life I gave to Jesus since then reflects his heart now. I sense it does. And I hope that the damage I have done (and sometimes continue to do) is healed by his love.

    X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just wow, no words, you have completely rendered me speechless and I cry as I write this. You are brave and good to admit it out loud. In the great continuum of time go back, in your mind, to that time and take it back, apologize to that poor woman, to the young parents but most of all look at yourself in the mirror and know that Jesus loves us just the way we are. God bless you, with your permission I would like to paste and copy this as my blog for tonight? Let me know, thank you H

    Like

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