(Part 2)

Matthew 25:35-39 KJV

[35] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: [36] Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. [37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee ? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? [38] When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee ? [39] Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

When Charles went to juvenile detention for a plea bargained mitigation of a monstrous charge, he received support, letters, cards, an outpouring of support.

I attributed this odd behavior from “good people” (rewarding a child abuser) thus–

  • They did not trust our report?
  • They did not full understand the devastation of his felonies
  • Or Matthew 25 oh, somebody in prison? I better get in on that reward!

Could have been something else, but whatever the motivations, his victims often did not get the same level of support he did. The people who comforted Charles did not comfort his victims.

Only two people outside our family confronted him on his sins.

To this day he does not acknowledge

What he did was wrong

There are lots of hard parts within the gaps between what the

Lord and the Righteous see

Matthew 25

First, you should know: I believe in a literal hell.

Not so much because the Bible alludes to it as because the world displays its existence in broken children, enslaved humans. Sudanese women getting whipped while men stand by and laugh.

There are pictures of hell within easy reach. To not believe in it is hubris.

And then there is the time I have spent there myself.

In the fall of 1996 I sat across the table from two small faces and watched them munch down the first of thousands of peanut butter sandwiches at our table.

We did this because of some rather poetic injunctions in the Bible about helping “orphans.” None more poetic than Jesus in Matthew 25.

He says “the righteous” will take in strangers and feed them peanut butter sandwiches. He says they will share of their safety, abundance, and nourishment with people who are the riskiest and least able to pay back such snacks and beverages.

He says they will give themselves. The cost is implicit in the risk.

But at the time it was just a couple of sandwiches. The humiliation, rejection, exposure, assault, and duplicity would take years to fully unravel.

The emotional cost remains steep.

And the words of Jesus still echo in my head–the least of these…you did unto me..

And if the least of these punch you in the stomach? Take your trust and abuse it?

The sorrow is a badly drawn tattoo along the sternum. And hell comes in the vertigo of watching those you cherish hurt.

Back to the table…

I must return to the table and find someone else hungry and thirsty and lowly like me.

It is a gift to know I am the least of these.

And your attention to my grief, a cup of clear water.

Thank you.