Thursday, January 04, 2007

The End of Humanity

Well, I'm back. We had a wonderful time in India; interesting at a variety of levels. And we enjoyed a wonderful holiday with family. The blog is back and will be updated about every other day.

We didn't know we would be doing it. We didn't know it would be inserted into our schedule. And we surely didn't know the powerful, life-transforming impact it would have on us.

We were in Northern India and we were invited to visit an isolated little village of dung-plastered huts. We had no idea what we would be seeing and we had no categories for describing it once we saw it. I will try my best to describe the scene. When we left the paved road, we drove as far as we could on a dirt path and then walked our way into a different period of time. Going into this village was like journeying back 700 years. Going into this village was literally a journey to the end of humanity. This was a village of Dalits, the untouchables of the Indian cast system. But these particular Dalits are the lowest of the low. They are rat catchers. Their job in life is to catch rats and those rats become one of the main staples of their diet. These people are so neglected, so down-trodden, so uneducated that they have no culture of cleanliness or hygiene. The first thing that impresses you is how dirty these people are. Dirty clothes, dirty children, and matted hair were the order of the day.

I have to be honest, I was repulsed by these people. I didn't want to get near them. I didn't want to be touched by them. I was afraid of what diseases they may have that I could catch. I had seen enough and I just wanted to get out of there. As we were riding away from this village in a nice, modern SUV, I sat looking out of the window, torn by conflicting thoughts. I was glad to be out of that village, I was repulsed by what I saw, but I had another thought. Although these people were the lowest of the low, although they live at the end of humanity, each one of them is a creature of God, actually made in his likeness!

The moment I had that thought another profound thought came exploding into my brain. What those people looked like to me is exactly what I look like to God. Sin has made me filthy dirty. Sin has destroyed in me any sense of spiritual hygiene. Sin leaves me isolated, ignorant, and dirty. But God didn't run out of our village. He wasn't relieved to be separate from us. Shockingly, he moved into our village. He came and lived with us. In his love, he took on our dirtiness and he gave his life so that we could become clean.

Isn't it amazing to know that God sees every bit of dirtiness in us and he does not turn away in revulsion. No, he moves toward us. He wraps his arms around us and changes us at the core of who we are as human beings. He doesn't separate from us because we are unclean, no, he touches us so that we would be clean! And he invites us to humbly look into his mirror, to see ourselves as we actually are, and to seek the loving cleansing that only he can give us. Isn't it wonderful to know that you can stand before God dirty and unafraid because of the grace that is yours in the Lord Jesus Christ!

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Today may you celebrate the One who did not turn away, but who moved in to make you clean!