Revolutionaries save lives worldwide: Why Missionaries are Ethical
When I first received the topic of what I’d be writing about today, my heart sank to my stomach. I felt strong compassion for the person, or people, who would believe the following statement to be fact: “Missionaries are unethical because they force their religion on people.”
The ignorance behind this statement is heartbreaking.
Sadly, I cannot call myself a missionary. No, I lack the selflessness, bravery and wisdom of those who painfully carry that title; however, from my missions work in Nicaragua, I did receive a small glimpse into the life of a missionary. I’m not seeking to persuade you to believe what I know as “truth;” I’m simply looking to give evidence of the true nature of these missionaries.
I walked the poor villages of Nicaragua with nothing more than bags of rice and beans. Such small portions of food would keep families alive for yet another week. I was surrounded by naked children with swollen hungry bellies, whose gentle embraces brought a flood of tears to my eyes. I walked up to a house which, for the more privileged families, was nothing more than four pieces of tin. We were taught to follow the same protocol as the long-term missionaries: give them the food, ask to pray for them and invite them to church.
Now, the order here is crucial. I imagine the person who believes missionaries force their religion on people see them as manipulators.
“You believe in my God and I’ll give you some food and clothes.” This is just not the case. I cannot tell you the number of people who have turned down my prayers, yet continued to receive food week after week. It’s not “Let me pray for you and if you say no, then no help for you,” which would certainly give us reason to question a missionary’s ethics.
I imagine that the person who is ignorant enough to believe missionaries are unethical have never seen a missionary go hungry in order to feed a child, give up a privileged American life to sleep on a dirt floor or hold a lice infested child without disgust, but I have seen all these things.
I bet that person also didn’t see distraught mothers hold their dead babies who were taken by hunger, and ask the missionaries to raise them from the dead. Nor did they see those same missionaries rejoice when the children came back to life, or worse yet, mourn as their bodies remained stiff and cold under their hands, refusing to stop praying. I imagine he or she also hasn’t met the brave missionary women who gave up their lives to forever love and care for little girls who were rescued from sex trafficking.
That being said, I am in no way ignorant enough to say all missionaries are this way. I am certainly aware no matter what the religion, there are extremists associated with each belief.
Would we consider the Dalai Lama and his exceptional accomplishments and implacable work on peace, which led to a Nobel Peace Prize, to be unethical? Or would we consider Mother Theresa, who was one of the greatest known humanitarians and also a Nobel Peace Prize winner, to be a fraud? Both were and are considered missionaries and some of the foremost spiritual and religious leaders of our time. To think this of them would negate every work they’ve ever done, and even more so, every life they have impacted.
To say these two revolutionaries— MISSIONARIES— works were and are “unethical” is to claim you are against saving the lives of countless hungry children worldwide, and are for the continued sex trafficking of innumerable people, as well as the slavery and imprisonment of innocent lives.
Somehow, I highly doubt if you were watching your children writhe in pain from starvation, you would slap bread out of the hand of a missionary with only love and life on their lips. Somehow, I highly doubt if your brother and sister were naked and freezing, you would refuse them the lifesaving warmth of a blanket from one of these missionaries. And again, I highly doubt if you yourself were one of the helpless victims chained to bed posts, believing death far better than the repeated torture you were succumb to, would turn away the missionaries who would risk their lives to save you. No; somehow I highly doubt that.
I would rather believe humanity—you, us, we— to be far better than that. I would rather believe you would hand that starving child bread, drape a warm blanket over someone else’s homeless brother or sister and save the life of a tortured soul if you could. Yes; I would rather believe that.