In one of my recent posts, I wrote about a visit to Zambia that changed my life.
“I remember how horrified I was at the depth of poverty I witnessed while visiting Zambia a few years ago. The guilt I felt upon returning to my warm home and fully stocked kitchen was debilitating for several days.”
To this day, several years later, I still struggle with this guilt. It ebbs and flows. Sometimes it is too difficult to bear and other times it doesn’t cross my mind. During Compassion’s Christmas banquet, it was particularly heavy.
I was reminiscing and remembered a conversation I had with one of my Zambian friends as we passed a Subway restaurant. He told me how excited he was for Christmas. It was the one meal when his family ate chicken. My heart sank as I remembered this and looked over the beautiful meal that was in front of me.
A few minutes later, Wess Stafford was asked to say grace. What followed in the few words he said touched the depth of my heart:
“We know that what we have before us is so much more than those we work for and serve. We are thankful for this blessing and promise to use the strength gained from this meal to work harder for those living in poverty and witnessing injustice.”
No, it’s not fair that I was born in America instead of Africa. It’s not fair that I enjoy abundance while billions endure extreme poverty. But gosh dog it, I will not feel guilty for it. Moving forward, I resolve that it will empower me to work harder on behalf of those I care for so deeply.
I know that many of you may have struggled with this same issue. Maybe you visited your sponsored child or maybe you did mission work in college. You came home with the same guilt I did. This guilt is not what God intended for us to take home from our visits.
Take heart — do not let this guilt paralyze you. Instead, use it to propel you into action. What can you do to influence those around you and spread awareness?