Category Archives: Thankfulness

To help or not to help

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Whether to help, and whom to help, is a big and difficult question in South Africa. I know that with this blog post, I will be very unpopular with some people, and really, it doesn’t bother me. If you are a racist, I suggest you stop reading now.

I have been perplexed by this verse for a long time:

Gal 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Why would we become weary in doing good? It feels so good, to do good!

And then life happened.

We helped a white, poor family to get back on their feet again. And we got stabbed in the back right there after. Life happens hey. So now, I don’t want to help people like that again. I just don’t.

This morning, I visited a school in the poorest of the poor areas – Pholapark in Thokoza. What I saw in the area surrounding the school, was heart breaking. Little snotty nosed kids playing in a street, where live electrical wires are running across the road, between heaps of rubbish. Poverty like you will only see in a squatter camp. Poverty without any dignity. I cannot put it in words. I will let the photos speak a thousand words on my behalf.

 

In these ‘houses’, there are people living, that were created in the image of God.

In these ‘street’s are children playing in the most disgusting conditions. Dirt. Danger. Everywhere.

This morning I decided to help this school. I cannot make the entire world a better place, but if I can improve the lives of a few school children, then at least, I am still doing good.

Now I know, the question is going to come: “why are you not helping our own people?”

These people, that live here, ARE my people. We were born in the same country. We were created by the same God. And one day, we will stand before His throne together. Skin colour and culture, doesn’t make a difference to me. South Africans, ARE MY PEOPLE. But I will give you a reason for helping these people, instead of investing in a white squatter camp for instance. The answer is white privilege. You can deny it as much as you want, if you are white, you benefited from it. We all did. I grew up in a poor family – we didn’t have money for all sorts of luxuries. I grew up in a stack flat; my parents never owned property. I couldn’t go to college or university after school; there was no money for that. BUT – I worked myself up and paid for my own qualifications.

Every white person, had the same opportunity I had. Some had more. Some had rich parents. Those in the squatter camps, were on the same level I were. I know what it feels to go hungry because there wasn’t enough for me and the children. I know how it feels to eat oats three times a day, because it’s all we had. So don’t think I don’t know what poverty feels like. I do. But I worked myself out of there. Due to white privilege, any of those in the white squatter camps could have done it too, and they still can. My experience is though, that cigarettes and alcohol are more important than food for their children. When offered a job, many of them don’t want it.

No, I am not generalising. I KNOW everybody isn’t like that. I KNOW that. But with what I have experienced, this is what I have decided. I will adopt that school and try to help in some way. At least little children, won’t stab us in the back again.

One good deed a day, will make South Africa a better country for all of us. Stop pointing fingers. Stop being racist. Poverty doesn’t discriminate. Find something good to do, whatever blows up your skirt – do it.

 

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Fear vs Faith

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I was raised to be scared of spiders. In fact, I was raised to be scared of any creepy crawly. In the house where I grew up, there was a can of insecticide in every room, with spare full ones in the kitchen. Whatever moved in that house, got killed. My mother was scared of spiders and she passed that fear on to me. For years, I freaked out at any insect. I couldn’t stand it. As a family, we still laugh at an incident a few years back, when a large black cricket decided to walk up the right leg of my pants. When I felt the movement, I was out of my pants before I could think about it. It just happened. That fear inside of me was far greater than the fear of having people see me standing in my underwear. Imagine that.

My husband however, has no fear. He picks the insects up and relocates then outside. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to overcome my fear of insects and spiders. It took a lot of hard work on my side, and a lot of patience on his side. Today, I can honestly say, my fear is gone. I now have a pet spider. And meal worms that I can pick up with my fingers to feed them to the bearded dragons. I have overcome my fear and I am very proud of it.

Meet Sarah, my pet spider.

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Why am I blogging about this? Fear is debilitating. And I firmly believe that fear, attracts exactly the things we fear, to us. Job said: “what I feared most, has overcome me”.

Fear is the direct opposite to faith, in all dimensions of our lives. I wasn’t only raised to be scared of spiders, I was also raised to be a racist. Racism is nothing but fear. We fear people who look different, dress different, speak different, all of that for no logical reason whatsoever. As a young adult, I started attending an english, charismatic church. And I soon learned that people of other cultures, are not bad just because they have a different skin colour than me. I learned that they too, are real people. People who love. People who laugh. People who cry. There were people in that church, of a different skin colour, who shared my love for music. Soon, they became my friends. Without them even knowing, they helped me to overcome my fear of people from another culture. Without them even knowing, they helped me to overcome racism.

Everything we were taught as kids, are not necessarily correct. Our parents are/were after all just human too. Humans fighting their own fears, and sometimes, not winning. As an adult, you have the responsibility to decide for yourself. You will not be judged one day on what your mother taught you; you will be judged by your own words, your own actions, your own beliefs, and yes, your own fears.

Today I want to bring honour to Babalo and Charmaine. Without them even knowing, they brought healing to my fearful soul. They were part of my journey, to conquer racism, to conquer my fear of anybody different from myself.

babalo

I dare you to start facing your fears, whatever it may be. Living with fear isn’t nice. I can attest to that. Living without fear, is liberating to say the least.

in His footsteps…

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My husband and I took a long walk on the beach a few days ago. At one stage, I was behind him, trying to walk in his footprints. His steps are however so far apart, that I battled to imitate him. My legs are just too short to give such enormous steps!

While I was trying, I suddenly thought of our lifelong attempt to ‘walk in the footsteps’ of Jesus. We want to be like Jesus. We want to live our lives as Jesus lived His. But try as we may, we just cannot live the holy life Jesus lived. We fail daily. Miserably. Daily, we disappoint ourselves.

But hope is found in the Word!

Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Just keep trying. God sees you as holy through the work that Jesus did on the cross. I read a book once – ‘Failing Forward’. And that is how we are. We keep failing, but through grace, we keep going forward. Get up and try again. There is no condemnation, so don’t let guilt keep you from trying again.

Live your life, failing forward.