Privilege is like a a two sided coin. On one side lies a world of unimaginable opportunity to do good and help others. One the other side is a license to fulfill the greatest intent of ones self. In general, privilege is not bad, but left unchecked it can evoke a sense of entitlement that hardens our hearts toward others. Grace, like privilege is
an unearned gift, but from God. Grace does not exist in a selfish form, instead it relies on the generosity and love of one to another.
I had a few hundred dollars in my wallet, but was unable to exchange it anywhere in Zwickau. My worldly wealth became useless, and twice I was invited to have tea with some refugees in their room. In both cases, the men showed extraordinary grace, sharing oranges, apples, and bananas. One of our hosts even ran to the market a block away to get peanuts for us to snack on. It was interesting how God made my dollars useless, so I could receive grace from these refugees. As I sat next to them, I thought wow what if I was one of them. My passport took on a whole new meaning in that moment. The privilege that came with it was humbling, after all, I did nothing to earn it.
Often when we met with refugees from the Middle East, when they would find out I was from the Unties States they would say, “America is Great!” I was always humbled in these moments. Not knowing what they have seen, not knowing what they think, I could not imagine what the basis was for their opinion. After all, many of them came from war torn parts of the word were American military forces had operated for over a decade now. Were they scared of us? Were they thankful for us?
Lead Pastor Henry Dietrich from Stadtlicht Church mentioned in a conversation with me that his family, along with other Christians in Communist East Germany were put on list by the Stazi with everyone’s name and an assigned prison cell number. Fortunately, the Wall came down and those lists were never carried out. I thank God that I have been privileged enough to never be persecuted by my government for my faith.
As a person who comes from great privilege, I am challenged by what it means to show Grace to others. It is so much easier for me to go somewhere else to serve and be gracious to others . However, as globalization of people and culture grows, and God continues to use Diaspora like He has for centuries, I wonder if grace looks like something far more challenging than I am prepared to accept? What if God is calling me to show radical Grace to others? What if God was calling for me to share my neighborhood, schools, and church with others less privileged than me?
I learned so much about my privilege this week. As I reflected on how most of my life I has been spoiled by a selfish nature of entitlement. I am sad by how I have waisted my God given talent, by focusing on inabilities and not strength. It is clear my enemy wishes to rob me, and keep me from realizing the true nature and reason for my privilege. That God has blessed me graciously, and has called me to use my privilege to be a blessing to others.
So as I return home, my prayer is that God will keep me focused on Him. That I will do more for others and less for myself. That the spirit would lead me with a faith without boarders. That I could freely extend grace, love, and mercy to The Least of These, regardless of where they came from or how they came.
Special thanks to my wife and all those who have supported me with prayer, encouragement , and financially.
This has been a incredible journey for me, and I hope an encouragement to you! Blessings.