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Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

Do Broken People Matter? is a heartfelt and challenging post from Joshua Wilkey on his blog This Appalachian Life.  Joshua grew up in Appalachia, and knows about the suffering there from the inside.  He now teaches history at Brevard College. A big part of his life’s mission is to help people understand this beautiful, beloved, struggling American region, and especially its long struggle with poverty.  He wants to join with others in seeking solutions to Appalachia’s problems that truly respect the people who live there.

In this particular post Joshua tells some of his mother’s story, about the hard, dead-end jobs that broke her health and the mental illness and drug addictions that compounded the brokenness.  The few resources that were available to address her physical and mental health were totally inadequate.  She died on her fifty-fifth birthday.

Mental healthcare is a crying need in Appalachia and across America.  Joshua points out that if we are to have any hope of addressing the plague of drug addiction, the mental health resources must be there.  However, whether it’s poisoned water in Flint, Michigan (a problem that is ongoing) or drug overdoses in rural America, he writes, “It seems, at least on the national level, that no one is interested in treating crises in impoverished communities with the same urgency as crises in middle-class America.”  Often poor people are written off as trashy people who make trashy choices.  People with addictions are written off as low-level criminals.

Joshua’s writings and others compel me to look into my heart of hearts.  Do I really believe that all lives matter, or is the truth that I believe some lives matter less than others? Do I really believe that God loves and relentlessly seeks each one like a shepherd who won’t be satisfied until all are safely in the fold?  Do I believe that all lives are precious and worth the effort of caring?

I can’t help thinking of the mantra of the pigs who are the ruling elites in George Orwell’s book Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”  Is a similar sentiment operating in my heart?

Do people whose brokenness and mess cannot be hidden matter?  Jesus certainly thought so.

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