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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Medicine and Miracles

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There is a strange concept among believers and non-religious people. If a christian is sick, everybody expects a miracle. And if the miracle doesn’t happen, obviously according to the super-spirituals, the sick person doesn’t have enough faith. I remember one house church meeting as if it happened yesterday. The woman had severe pain due to bad back problems. In every meeting, she asked for prayer to help with the pain. In each meeting, the cell leader prayed for her, and then gave her a bit of a lecture on her level of faith, and positive proclamation.

Until one day. One day when I finally had enough. Back to my problem of having more Biblical knowledge than the average pew-warmer.

James 5:14  Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well…

Who is without faith here???? The woman did what the Bible commanded – she went to the elders to pray for her healing. What happened? Nothing. Why? The elders didn’t have faith.

No surprise that the cell leader didn’t like me much after that. Obviously, being an aspie, it wasn’t said with tact. It was just blurted out.

Let’s think about this. If God answered EVERY prayer, EXACTLY doing what we asked, would there be any non-religious people? No. If it was that easy, the entire world would have been Christian, just to be prosperous in every facet of life! Everybody would have served God for what they could get, not because of what He already did.

I take medicine. I have to. And that is okay with me. I don’t understand why I have this condition. But I know it won’t go away. And I am okay with that. Paul had the proverbial thorn in his side, and this is probably mine. Just as God told Paul, I know today, His grace is enough for me.

So take heed. If you are a super-spiritual that will try to load condemnation on me for taking meds, you might end up with a very unchristian-like reaction.

 

The puzzle pieces of my life

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The day it was confirmed that I have Aspergers, was the best day of my entire life. Before that day, I didn’t fit in, and I could never figure out why. I wonder how many times I have been labelled as weird, eccentric, and anti-social. If only I could have a R1 for each time! Geez, we could have had a great party!

The aftermath of the Asperger confirmation, is that I am rebuilding the puzzle of my life. I remember things that happened many years ago, and suddenly, I understand. I understand the little girl back then. I understand why she did what she did. One by one, I am re-looking at all my memories, categorising them into Asperger traits. For the first time in my life, I belong. There are other people like me. That little sentence gave me so much peace, you have no idea. No, I don’t need an ‘ag shame you suffer from Aspergers’. No! I don’t suffer! I HAVE aspergers, and that’s okay. I wouldn’t want to be any different from who I am. God made me like this and I am quite happy with myself. It’s just a new season, where I get to know myself so much better.

Anxiety is the one thing that is a major giant in the life of an aspie. Anxiety is always there. It doesn’t always make sense, well actually seldom, but it can’t be ignored just because it doesn’t make sense. To neuro typical people, none of it makes sense! Why do I become anxious just because we are having visitors over?  Why do I get anxious when I have to go to town? Why do I get anxious when we are going to a social? It doesn’t make sense right? But it is there. And I have to live with it.

Years ago, I was in a very big, prominent church in Pretoria. With a lot of super spiritual people. You have to understand this concept. You get so-called christians, who go to church every Sunday, but live the most despicable lives you can imagine. Then you get normal christians, who know they are desperately in need of a Saviour; we just can’t make it on our own. And then you have the super-spirituals. They say all the right words. They fill the important positions in the church. I usually refer to them as the pharisees.

Where do I fit in? The middle one. I am one of those who knows, I won’t make it on my own. I need a Saviour. I am no saint. I swear when I get angry. I cry when I get scared. Sometimes my faith fails me miserably, but God, always picks me up.

If you speak about aspergers and anxiety to one of the superspirituals, they will immediately tell you that you have a lack of faith, that you should stand on the word, that you should rebuke the devil, blah blah blah blah.

Oh yes, I know about the scripture that says ‘be anxious for nothing’. I can even quote it!

Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Now the question arises – is it a sin to be anxious? NO. A very bold NO. Why do I say that?
Go and read the scripture when Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was scared. Jesus was anxious. He desperately pleaded with God, to take another route. BUT, he also surrendered to God’s will. Jesus was human. Fully human. You show me any human, who have divine knowledge that he would be crucified, that isn’t anxious, scared, and shaking in this shoes. Forget it.
Jesus was anxious. As such, He understands my anxiety. That little scripture in Phil 4:6 is encouragement daily for me to face the day, despite the anxiety. It is a reminder that God knows about me, that He understands my anxiety and that He will help me through it.
No, I don’t have it because I have a lack of faith.
No, I am not demon possessed.
No, I am not sick and I don’t need some self-proclaimed prophet to pray for me.
I have all I need. I have a God who knows what my anxiety feels like. I have a family who understand the anxiety and helps me cope, even if it doesn’t make sense.
One puzzle piece fitted. I have anxiety. It’s okay. Jesus had it too.