I have to admit that as a Christian I am very arrogant. Time and time again I fall into the trap of thinking that I’ve got Jesus figured out and that because I have him figured out I know exactly how to reflect his character. Thankfully God is merciful enough to humble me with love.
God gave me one of the most lovingly, powerful, humbling lessons on his character during a study tour I took to Madagascar in 2013, during my graduate studies.
I’d like to introduce you to Dieudonné (he is pictured at the top of this post). This man truly touched my heart during my petit séjour in Madagascar. He and his wife have a center in which they employ people with disabilities who were living in the streets of the Malagasy capital. They teach their employees to do metalwork art and other crafts. However, beyond that, Dieudonné and Violette provide training and knowledge on livelihoods, nutrition, and education.
In their center, Dieudonné and Violette teach their employees how to grow different crops and use those crops to create nutritional valuable meals for their children and themselves. They’ve taught their employees the importance of recycling and being good stewards of the earth. As if that wasn’t enough, the couple has built an elementary school, middle school, and are in the process of a building a high school onsite for their employees children. Because of all this, I dubbed him Captain Planet.
They’re natural altruism impressed me in ways I can’t describe, but what really penetrated my heart was Dieudonné’s humble and forgiving disposition. Dieudonné told us that some of the employees steal from them. Before we could even ask any questions he hit us with, “I know that some steal from me and I know it’s wrong. However, I would rather they steal from me and stay in the center learning how to live well and educating their children then to throw them back to the lives they once had in the streets.”
After this, all I could think about is how this man was reflecting Jesus’ character. I don’t even know if he identifies as Christian or not, but his actions of love and mercy show me that there is a living God in his heart.
I felt ashamed because I openly say I’m Christian, yet how many grudges do I hold? How many people do I pass on the streets without giving them a second thought? How many second, third, and fourth chances do I give? Worst of all, how many times a day do I disappoint God and He still forgives me?