The other day as I was driving to Manenberg I saw a commotion happening at the big set of traffic lights where some guys sell fruit and vegetables. As I approached, I saw the person that broke up the fight get back into their car leaving two guys standing in the road. The one was holding his friend up, the other was holding his side where, I assume, he had just been stabbed, and they were going around the various bakkies/trucks pleading for a ride to the hospital. I watched as three of four car drivers refused to let them into their cars.
My mind was racing:
You should give this guy a lift
I don’t know who this guy is or what just happened
But he’s just been stabbed Clare
Yes but I’m alone, I’m vulnerable
He might have a knife, he might have a gun
The friend looked at me; he didn’t even approach my car. Maybe he knew it wasn’t safe for me to take them in my car, or maybe he knew I’d only say no. The lights turned green and in that moment I decided that my security was more valuable than that guy’s life. You can rationalise it and say that I made a wise decision, or that someone else would help him…but I’m pretty confident I heard God’s prompting and chose to say no. It’s too easy to say no.
I’ve thought about that decision a lot in the last few days and had many interesting conversations about it – I am not beating myself up about it, I know God is gracious and that it is a privilege to respond to His promptings and I trust that even though I didn’t, someone else did. But, the point is that “no” is too often our decision, to say no; to choose to not be interrupted or inconvenienced; to value our own lives over someone else. What I am called to, not just here in Cape Town but in life, is to no longer live for myself (I have a blog title that suggests that is the case!) and so that means making the decisions that don’t make sense.
‘I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me [Jesus]—you did it to me.’
The other side of the coin which I face day-to-day with the girls I’m working with is knowing when no is the right answer, when me saying yes over and over again only allows a destructive cycle to continue. To be honest, it’s one of my biggest struggles as part of Fusion. Everything in me wants to fix problems, mend holes, and always be available and always say yes but what that means is that I am more invested in the process of change than the girls, and that I stop them from seeing that they must own the process with or without me. It’s such a fine line to tread – these girls needs unconditional love and support, drugs have impacted their ability to make rational decisions but with no tough love or discipline, I am actually hurting them more than helping.
Pray for us as we journey with incredibly broken young people, that our compassion and desire to help would be full of wisdom and hearing God’s voice. With my dilemma at the traffic lights and with the girls, the “wisdom” the world teaches is not enough – it is marked by fear, judgement, guilt and good intentions…the answer is hearing God and being obedient to His voice. As my ear tunes to Him, would my feet and hands follow.
…watch this space for a slightly more light-hearted “this is my life” style blog, with pictures, in the not too distant future!