“Sometimes…. sometimes, as communities, families, churches: We’d rather make pain invisible than say injustice is intolerable — so the injustice continues.”  from Ann Voskamp.

Read that again.

Now stop and think about it.

We’d rather make pain invisible – we don’t like it when people hurt.   We don’t like it when everything isn’t “fine.”   We want to sweep it under the rug and pretend that everything is good.

That’s why so many people dress up in their “Sunday Best” to come to church – because you need to look like all is well.    You need to look like everything is fine.

I think we should come to church on Sunday wearing our “Sunday worst.”   Unshaven, jeans with rips in them, no make up (not that I wear any anyway), just as we are every day – clothes that show the battles we’ve had and the problems that we’ve sruggled with.    That would make pain visible..

Okay – go to the top and read it again.   “We’d rather make pain invisible than say injustice is intolerable…..”

How many of us are really willing to get upset about injustices that happen all around the world?   

Besides for a short Twitter campaign, how many people still remember the 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram?   

How many people are willing to be uncomfortable about the fact that ISIS is murdering Christians?

How many people are willing to do something about the Restavek problem in Haiti?

How many people are willing to do something about abuse that happens in orphanages?

How many people are willing to do something about governmental corruption that hinders the adoption process and causes  children  untold  harm?

Not nearly enough.   

Not  nearly enough people are willing to stand up and say, “this is wrong and we won’t stand for it.”

Not nearly enough people are willing to stand up and say, “those are fellow Christians being killed, we need to do something more about it.”

Not nearly enough people are willing to stand up and say, “my child suffered abuse while in the orphanage and this must stop.”   And be willing to take the heat that comes from telling the stories and making their pain known.

Not nearly enough, and so what happens?

The injustice continues.

Terrorists continue terrorizing.

Kidnappers and traffickers keep kidnapping and trafficking.

Abusers and those who know about it continue to allow more children to be hurt and more families to suffer with their children.

The injustice continues.

And it goes on.  And on.

And the pain gets passed from one level to another to another.

We have to stop that.   We have to stop hiding the pain.   We have to start talking about the problems.

It’s the only way that we will be able to make any positive changes.

It’s the only way we will be able to prevent the pain and the injustice from passing on to future victims and future strugglers.

It’s not easy – it’s actually very very hard.    Yesterday,  an adoptive parent in Arkansas who also happens to be a State Representative stood up and opened up to the pain that was their lives as they struggled to get help for their two adopted daughters.    They opened up to the pain that was caused by people in the government not telling them  the truth.    They opened up to how difficult it was attempting to love children who were so badly injured that they couldn’t receive love.

It was gut wrenching to watch.    But I give Rep. Harris and his wife a lot of credit for standing up and saying what they did.   

Until we are okay with making pain visibile, we are not going to be able to do something consistent and systemic about injustice in this world.

I hope you’ll join me.

Tom