I was going to have to take this kid to the hospital. It wasn’t the way he fell that tipped me off so much as it was the way he didn’t get up. I ran over to where he lay, knocked to the ground by a larger boy who hadn’t seen him; he was face down and hyperventilating. The unfortunate perpetrator stood by: a young boy who’d honestly hit his victim by accident. He looked terrified; sometimes it’s hard to be the big kid. Within a few seconds the sight of a panicked kid and a prostrate kid had won the attention of about a dozen boys and adult volunteers. The panic on the older boy’s face increased, swelled, and then burst out of his face.
“He’s Faking!” he told me, “He’s faking” he repeated. It became a mantra
“What happened?” Asked the next kid to arrive
“Nothing He's faking, I just bumped him.”
“You just bumped him?”
“Yeah he’s faking”
“Oh, what a faker” (no joke, they said, "faker")
|By: D. Sharon Pruitt|
In another moment the poor guy was surrounded by boys all eager to tell the next person who arrived that the guy on the ground was a “faker.” Fortunately the camp nurse arrived soon, and he spoke to the scared boy on the ground instead of to the scared boy towering over him. But the kid couldn’t answer; he could barely breathe. Most of the immediate problem was panic. Once the taunting crowd was dispersed he finally stopped hyperventilating enough to reveal that he’d hit his head and was feeling nauseous. I ran to get my car and driving partner. He had a concussion.
Why is it so easy to blame hurt people for their injuries? The larger boy was guilty of nothing more than carelessness, but he let his fear make him defensive. I’ve said it before: Fear is a lousy motivator. The big kid only did something wrong once he started blaming the crumpled and panicked boy at his feet.
It’s an easy thing to do: to blame survivors for their wounds. Hiring managers discriminate against certain races because they perceive those races as lazy, even referencing unemployment among that race to justify their prejudice. There is a problem with this. Rape survivors face ridicule when they tell about their attacks; they’re interrogated about where they were and what they wore, as if they need help blaming themselves for the unsolicited violence they experienced. This is a problem. The poor and hungry too, often find judgment when they look for mercy. So often struggling families are told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, as though children deserve to live with hunger and fear because of their parents’ addictions or malfunctions. This blame game is not acceptable.
Scripture says that we should each trust the saying: “Christ died to say sinners of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15) And we're urged to consider other’s better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). It’s a hard word to accept but the Bible, in no uncertain terms, places every person on equal moral footing before God. We're all equally undeserving of God's love. No Christian retains the right to think of him or her self as better than anyone else.
This is not the part where I challenge you to give away all of your money and possessions. Jesus challenged exactly one guy to do that exactly one time (Mark 10:17-27) and the point that Jesus was making was this: It is impossible for us to be good enough to earn God’s kingdom, but nothing is impossible for God. God’s love and grace are free gifts that none of us have ever done a thing to earn. Despite all of the kind and good things you done, God isn't impressed (Isaiah 64:6), your relationship with God is a gift. You’re on spiritual welfare; we all are.
Try to live the next 24 hours without judging or blaming others for their troubles. We’ve received much mercy from God; we can pass it on. Relying fully on God to work this good thing in us, let’s try treating our neighbors with the undeserved grace we’ve received. Today, may we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). God Speed.