"Remember the Madagascar"
One of my all time favorite scenes from any movie is a scene from the movie about William Wilberforce called Amazing Grace. Maybe you remember this scene. It the scene of the slave ship Madagascar.
Happily and content on a beautiful tour boat ... complete with a band playing delightful music sat some wealthy higher up influential people of the House of Commons who are only concerned about their own well being and the well being of the rich of society and having a peaceful relaxing afternoon on that tour boat. They are having a grand old time on what they think is a delightful scenery tour on a beautiful afternoon enjoying the gentle breeze and sunshine.
But then the delightful little tour boat takes and unexpected turn and suddenly they smell a horrifying smell. A woman on the tour boat puts a handkerchief to her nose to block the smell and immediately from another docked boat they heard William Wilberforce yell to that handkerchief woman to take the handkerchief away from her nose and told all of the wealthy higher up influential people of society who were on that tour boat to breathe in that smell deeply. William Wilberforce shouts that the horrifying smell they smell is the smell of death. From the depths of his being he starts shouting that all men are created equal and then he shouts a quote that will forever be remembered. “Remember the Madagascar!”
This scene hit my heart so deeply because it made me remember when I was that person sitting in that tour boat enjoying the music, enjoying the wonderful, relatively cozy and safe life I was living here in America. Sure, I had seen pictures and videos of children living in severe poverty. I mean, you can’t miss those pictures here in America. They are everywhere. I had watched movies and read all kinds of articles about all the suffering in the world. I was ever so well informed!
In response to being so well informed I whispered a quiet quick prayer that the suffering people would be ok. I comforted myself with the excuse that God is in control and if he wants these kids fed and cared for and the suffering people in the world to be cared for that He would do it...and then I would go on with my wonderful and relatively cozy and safe life I was living.....Until the day everything changed.
I was not prepared or even expecting the grief, guilt, shame and the repentance my heart felt when I stood there looking into one of those children’s eyes. And there were so many of them!! They had no mommies or daddies. They had no place to live. They had no food to eat. They drank water from puddles on the street. They had no one to love them. There was no one to care for them. At that moment all of the faces of all the suffering children living in extreme poverty that I had ever seen in magazines and on TV flooded my mind and my heart as I remembered how I passed off the responsibility to someone else to care for them.
How can a heart like mine be so hard? I cried and asked Jesus for forgiveness and you know what? Jesus did not condemn me for the hard heart I once had! He took away the guilt and the shame I felt and with his arms open wide and his face covered in a huge smile and with tears in his eyes he so gently, softly and lovingly asked me, “Will you take care of these little ones?” My answer through an ocean of tears....”Yes”.
Sometimes it takes the Madagascar and the smell of death to be able to see the truth and for our hearts to open up to help end the needless suffering that goes on all over the world.
The Apostle James writes about what I experienced and expresses it so well in James 2:15-17.
“Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing and you say, “Good-bye and Good Day. Stay warm and get well.” - but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing, what good does that do? So, you see faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”
I will always remember my Madagascar. He was about 10 years old with such huge brown eyes. He smelled so bad like he had never taken a bath in his whole life! He grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let go. I hugged him and never wanted to let go. His name was Joseph.....My Madagascar...I will never forget.
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