TO LOVE ANOTHER PERSON IS TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD
I have been inundated by phone calls and email asking me about the safety of my family in Japan since the news of earthquakes in Japan broke on Friday last week, March 11, 2011. It is a truly gratifying experience to live in a not-so-big community like Lethbridge. People do care. They are concerned about the disasters and respond very generously to appeals to help the victims be it Haiti, New Zealand, or Japan. I even heard a person angrily denouncing the countries and governments not caring enough about the courageous rebels in Libya, who are increasingly looking like they are about to be brutally overrun by the planes and guns of Colonel Ghadafi.
However, whenever some people express their concerns about what is happening overseas, inevitably there are others who say things like, “Charity begins at home.” They sound as though our homes, our community, and our country come first, and the problems overseas are secondary. Of course, poverty and homelessness are important issues which should be on top of our agenda. But I happened to believe that both are not mutually exclusive. One exclusive of the other is not an authentic charity. Person who claims to be concerned about hunger in Africa but is a horrible neighbour is a liar. Likewise, if someone says he cares less about HIV/AIDS crisis overseas because he is too busy fighting crimes at home is a fake. Respect for one must be respect for everyone.
It reminds me of the famous line by Victor Hugo in Les Miserable, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”