This morning Heidi Carlson wrote an article entitled “Where can we be safe?” that spoke to my heart. In it she describes bringing her children to a new park only to find a group of kids videotaping little girls fighting
A group of about 20 school-aged children were laughing and goofing around on the grass. How refreshing, I thought, seeing children outside playing—a sure sign of strong community. While my daughters flew down the slide, the gaggle of children transitioned to the adjacent field and began cheering. Several of the older youth held up cell phones, recording some interaction taking place amid the group. I took a closer look and noticed two smaller children on the ground, gripping each other in the fetal position, grasping each other’s hair in their fists. They were fighting.
An older gentleman saw the interaction and called to me from the sidewalk. “What’s going on?” I explained what I’d seen, and he confided he’d recently seen a story on the news about children fighting, recording it, and posting it online. Some were seriously injured participating in this “game.” I hadn’t heard of the phenomenon, though I wasn’t shocked. “Did you hear the shooting around the corner?” he asked. “The police have it all roped off. A lady was shot an hour ago.” That was about 15 minutes before I’d arrived at the park. “It’s not safe,” he continued. Before he walked to his home around the corner, he urged me to head home while there was still light.
Carlson continues to explain how a place being unsafe should draw Christians TO IT with the Gospel instead of away from it.
God’s call to “go into all the world” isn’t just answered in the jungles of the Amazon or the polluted cities of China, but also in the poverty-stricken housing projects of the American inner city, the immigrant London neighborhood, the neighborhood in a “bad” school district one mile from home. Christ’s followers know such places need his witness, but we are reluctant to go because it’s not safe.
Crime statistics, school ratings, and online reviews all have their place, but they ought never overshadow the Spirit’s call to penetrate dark places to be a light for Christ’s kingdom. Yes, this perspective runs counter to the world’s modus operandi, which says, “If it isn’t safe, make every effort to get out.” But for the Christian summoned by the Spirit, the call is to go and be a tool in God’s hands for spiritual transformation. This doesn’t mean recklessness or foolishness, but it does mean the ideal of safety must never stand in the way of humble confidence in our true safety, Jesus Christ.
On a personal level this spoke to me because there are fewer and fewer people willing to enter the unsafe places of the world with the Gospel of Christ. May God raise up a generation who will realize there is no place truly unsafe apart from His presence.
Articles Cited: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/where-can-we-be-safe