I’ve decided I don’t want to listen to the news anymore. It makes me want to tear my hair out and vomit. It makes me grieve, my heart ache for the injustice that happens daily in our world, especially to children. Innocent children who suddenly are robbed of their childhood and receive heartless wounds that no human being should ever have to endure.
One story has been haunting me since I first heard it when I was driving home the other day. The radio news announcer matter of fact read the story of an 11-year old foster child boy that had been found handcuffed to a porch shivering in the cold with a dead chicken tied around his neck. I gasped, and screamed out loud in the car. I could in that moment only pound heaven’s doors with my question of, really God? Why so much hurt?
The worst of it is, one of his caretakers was a supervisor for social services. Isn’t that an oxymoron? Isn’t she the one who is supposed to help rescue these children from harm and then insure protection, not be the one who commits the crime? It is utterly disgusting. And to be honest, it’s hard to give grace to someone who administers that type of cruelty to children.
I’ve been trying to figure out why this story has impacted me on such a deep level. I can’t stop thinking about it.
I can’t stop thinking about the fear and terror that little boy was experiencing.
The smell of that dead chicken around his neck.
The decaying and attraction of pesky flies flying around his body.
His inability to shield his face or plug his nose because he was handcuffed to the porch.
I can’t stop thinking about the enormous humiliation he faced.
I can’t stop thinking about his confusion of trying to understand why the people that are supposed to love and protect him would subject him to such harsh cruelty.
I can’t stop thinking about the tears staining his little cheek and his cries that were silenced and made to endure this torture.
It makes me weep and rage at the same time. What is his future? Will he ever know what it is like to be really loved? To have a normal childhood? Who will fight for him? These questions are all unanswered and all I can do right now is pray for him and the other children that were in that house.
As I reflected on why this particular story has triggered me, I came to this conclusion. I think it bothers me so much because it is a story about humiliation, tragic and horrific humiliation. This should never happen to anyone. No one deserves that experience no matter what they might have said or done. The punishment outweighs the offense by a million miles whatever it might have been. It is plain unjust.
Have you ever been misunderstood and humiliated by someone in authority who was supposed to protect you? Someone whose power was misused to heap shame on you to make themselves feel better? We may not have such an extreme experience as this little boy has had, but each of us probably could retell a story or two of feeling like we’ve been handcuffed to a porch with a dead chicken around our neck.
The smell and memory still lingers.
The pesky flies remind us of the shame that has been draped around us screaming, “Because of what you did, you are a bad person.”
And we wonder, “Really God? I was trying to do the right thing. I not only got the handcuffs slapped on, but humiliation on top of it. It’s not fair, it sucks and I’m having a hard time not being paralyzed because of it.”
It is in that moment God comes in the picture and fights for us. Joseph, Job, Hagar, Paul, and many others found in the pages of the Bible experienced being handcuffed to a porch wrought with humiliation. God showed up and became the deliverer and set things straight. He promises to fight for us in the midst of injustice.
We might be in so much pain it’s hard to hope, but God won’t fail.
We may fail or make mistakes but God doesn’t shame us.
Others may deem us unlovable, but God loves us, unconditionally and extravagantly.
We might be judged unfairly but God’s grace is outrageous.
Others may break their promises but God’s promises are true, always.
We might have a hard time trusting others because we’ve been hurt, but God, He has proven to be trustworthy.
If you ever find yourself handcuffed to a porch and experiencing being misunderstood and humiliated because of someone else’s actions, take heart. God is working in the background. It doesn’t go unnoticed. He will fight for you and be your defense just as a little boys cries finally attracted the attention of a neighbor and he was rescued.
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble.?I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me.?Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.?I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!” Psalm 91:14-16 (Message)
(picture taken from http://insideevs.com/electric-to-the-rescue/)