Friday, July 13, 2012

"We are no better than wealthy Germans or hated Bayash, even as we are no better than Jerry Sandusky."-Dave Shive

Question: What do Jerry Sandusky and the Bayash Gypsies of Eastern Europe have in common? Answer: They are both unequivocally despised.

This is the thought that came to me as I watched lawyers and media interacting after the jury returned a guilty verdict on Sandusky. (Before I’m accused of being soft on crime, let me say that I am outraged on behalf of the young men Jerry Sandusky abused, saddened by the destruction of their lives, and satisfied that justice has been served.) Nevertheless, I cannot escape a sense of grief for this man and for the shame and ruination he has brought to his own family.

This is why the media response to Sandusky’s conviction was so intriguing. I was immediately struck by the lack of humility and grief exhibited during this strategic moment. Like vultures, gleefully extolling the fall of another human being, they seemed to be gloating over Sandusky’s conviction. It could easily have been a macabre pep rally, only instead of cheering for the home team, there was vindictive delight over another’s fall.

As I watched, I wondered what these critics would be doing should their secrets be exposed for all to see. Though their indiscretions may not be illegal (unlike Sandusky’s which were clearly illegal), many of them would cringe if their misdeeds were publicly displayed. And frankly, I think there is little room for gloating if we understand the darkness of our own hearts.

Which brings me to the Bayash gypsies. Traditionally a despised people, gypsies are often viewed as the lowest strata of a society. But the Bayash, sometimes known as “the gypsies’ gypsy,” are a notch below the generic gypsy. Endemic to the typical Bayash village is alcoholism, incest, crime, poverty, and virtually every other societal ill.

Yes, the Bayash are despised. But by whom? By those fortunate enough to not have been born into alcoholism, incest, crime and poverty. And there is a line that connects Jerry Sandusky with the Bayash…and us. It’s a line of brokenness, judgment, grace, humility, mercy, and forgiveness. This line intersects the cross of Christ. Whether it’s a convicted pedophile or a despised ethnic group or Dave Shive, we are all desperate for the kindness displayed in Christ, in need of forgiveness, and hungry for mercy. And if we understand that, we can temper our scorn of others or pride in the face of their trouble with a sense of gratitude over what God has spared us from.

This month I will spend some time among two European groups: residents of the country of Germany, and the Bayash of Croatia. Joining me will be my son, Mike, and oldest grandson, Josh. In Germany, we will be surrounded by post-Christian affluence and nihilism as we explore with my sister and her husband how to plant the church in this dark place. And in Croatia we will be partners with Bob and Nancy Hitching who have pioneered the Roma Bible Union, a most authentic ministry among the most reviled. We will seek to serve them in any way we can.

Pray for us as we go. We are no better than wealthy Germans or hated Bayash, even as we are no better than Jerry Sandusky. Were it not for mercy obtained at the Cross and for the power of God’s grace, we would all be atheists or nihilists or pedophiles or alcoholics or victims of incest or perpetrators of abuse. Pray as we are surrounded by affluence and paganism on the one hand, and filth, odors, germs, mud, and wasted humans on the other hand, that we may be conduits of the love of Christ because God has been so gracious to wretches like us. – Dave Shive


Craver Vii said...

I hear what you're saying about the vultures on Sandusky. The unrighteous might flippantly wink at sin, but I dare not cast the first stone, either. There is an unfortunate element of entertainment that permeates the evening news. That observation was proclaimed in Don Henley's song, "Dirty Laundry."

In the slide show, there was a photo with a steepled church on the horizon between two humble shacks that stood in the foreground. It makes me want to know more of the story of the relationship between the gypsies and the people of God.

donsands said...

I really like that song. The Eagles, even when they went their own ways, are terrific song writers and musicians.

All humans are in the same pit of wrath, aren't we. Only by the grace of God can any of us be pulled out and made clean.
Some of the nicest and well lived people will givbe an account to God on J-Day, and then be cast out.
And some of the filthy rebels will be welcomed into the holy presence of God.
Those who deny Christ will be thrown out, and those who trust and follow Christ will be brought in.

The Gospel is all about God forgiving sinners like us through His Son, Jesus Christ.

My son-in-law went on the missions trip to make a video of the gypsies, and to show how they are in need of the Gospel in a bad way.
When Mike gets home and finally puts the video together, I'll post it here and on Facebook so you can learn about these people Craver.

Should be an encouraging blessing from our Lord, to see how He is reaching out to the people in Croatia, for the Gospel's sake, and for His glory.

Craver Vii said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craver Vii said...

(Oops. I left out the closing parenthesis, and had to repost my comment.)

I like learning words and phrases in other languages. The only Croatian that I remember is dosta već. (već rhymes with "etch.") It means "enough, already." Growing up, the mom next door used to say that to the kids.

Anonymous said...

BOY are you right about the media not being any better than Sandusky himself! Here is my timely example: The media is oversampling in their polling of who is supposedly winning the current U.S. presidential election. In so doing, they are lying to the American people. They are doing so in order to win it for their candidate of choice. They are, in so doing, just as sinful as Sandusky himself, in lying to the American people this way for their own base purposes. Sandusky is a rapist of the body, but the media vultures who glory in his downfall are themselves rapists of the mind---and the current poll oversampling on their part proves it.