Tocar/Touch

I’ve been reading the book “Chasing the Dragon”, telling the story of Jackie Pullinger and her work with drug addicts, prostitutes and criminals in the infamous Walled City of Hong Kong. The words of one of her friends, Ah Ping, struck me as he told her what he felt about Westerners. “You Westerners, you come here and tell us about Jesus. You can stay for a year or two, and your conscience will feel good, and then you can go away. It’s true some of you can raise a lot of money on behalf of us underprivileged people. But you’ll still be living in your nice houses… and we’ll still be living here. What you are doing really has nothing to do with us. Fine, fine for them, fine for us too, we wouldn’t mind believing in Jesus too if we could get into a plane and fly away round the world like them. They can sing about love very nicely, but what do they know about us? They don’t touch us – they know nothing.”
This conversation with Ah Ping hurts and convicts me. Much of what he says has to do with wealth, power and privilege. How do I, we, leave those things behind as we share Christ with the poor and the underprivileged? My thoughts wander to one of InnerCHANGE’s values: the value of identification. “We will identify incarnationally with the needy of the world for the sake of their salvation, just as Jesus left his wealth and power to identify with us for the sake of our salvation”. In other words, we live among the poor so that we can walk with them, touch them and to a limited degree step into their world to experience life with them, identify with them and share Christ in the midst of it all. I will never completely enter or experience the life of a street kid in Xela however I can choose to be among them, learn from them, listen to them, love on them and walk with them.
“They don’t touch us – they know nothing.” Touch is powerful – a handshake, a kiss on the cheek (typical Guatemalan greeting), a hug. For street kids, touch is rare and an important element in the process of healing and trust. Touch is important on a human level as we interact with them but even more we long for them to feel God’s touch – his loving, healing, saving, transforming touch.
(“Chasing the Dragon” by Jackie Pullinger with Andrew Quicke)
(For more on InnerCHANGE commitments:  http://www.crmleaders.org/ministries/innerchange/inside-innerchange/values)

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