“Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” —Jesus – Matthew 5:11
Who do you think of when you hear the word, greatness? I like the list above, composed by Ralph Waldo Emerson. While each is famous for their contributions to humanity, they each were quite misunderstood! There are several other names I would put on the list of great people, though not all of them would immediately be considered great by many…
I think of Sharon, a Sunday School teacher who was the first person to introduce me to Jesus, and who showed me a great love that most humans would not (and chose not to) extend me. Her husband, as well, was a man that showed me much of humility and simple sacrifice and service to God. I also think of Kent, a youth pastor who saw God’s wisdom and work in my life, and invested time and encouragement in me. I think of Mike, a spiritual father and dear beloved brother, friend, and co-laborer for the Lord who has walked with me for over 15 years through thick and thin. I think of Karen, a fully committed sister and friend, who has walked with me through some dark challenges of ministry, but who keeps encouraging me and fighting by my side. I think of Jedd, a mentor and adviser who speaks of the beauty and truth that God has nurtured in my heart, character, and life. I think of Yesenia, who, though from humble and challenging circumstances, has demonstrated great initiative and commitment to fighting for precious children, and a tenacity to fight the challenges of this world to maintain a heart and life wholly dedicated to God! I think of Laura, who works to hard to help me in many areas, and does so with a quiet reserve and humble servant’s heart before God. These are just a very few random names from my long list of people who provoke the word ‘greatness’ to come to my mind when I think of them… and I pray that all the others who reside on my list of greatness know just how greatly I think of them as well!
When I think of greatness I do not think of what the world esteems as great, nor does God. I am not interested in bank account balances, possessions, power, position, or the self-preservation and promotion that are so greatly valued in much of the world (including much of the ‘church’). In fact, I often feel that some of those who are most misunderstood, falsely accused, and mistreated have the greatest potential for causing greatest change.
While, maybe, many on my list have not felt misunderstood, falsely accused, or underappreciated, I know that I belong on a list of those who have truly been misunderstood. The rumors, false accusations, and misunderstandings from others often carry an effect and weight with them. Yet, somehow, God says that I am blessed for this. I know that I am not perfect, and have never made pretend to be so, but the accusations, misunderstandings, and negative perceptions of some have been used by Satan to try to steal, kill, and destroy in several ways. Praise God that He is bigger and greater.
Several of the kids I get to work with have also shared with me of false accusations and evil that have been said against them. I share with them about some of the greatest people that have existed, including Jesus, and how they too had been falsely accused, misunderstood, and had many evil things said about (and done to) them. There is great hope for those of us who fall in the camp of the misunderstood, falsely accused, and disregarded by others. We have an amazing potential for greatness!
One of the little boys in one of our ministries (I will refer to him as John.) is often misunderstood by his peers and others. John loves to have the right answer, loves to complete tasks given to him, and wants to help others. He is the first to complete what we ask of him, and often, of his own accord, will help others as well. He, however, is very energetic, passionate, and very vocal. This often causes for adults to view him as a problem. John is misunderstood. If I have ever seen a ‘little Jesse’ in my time of ministry, John is it! John encounters domestic violence in his home, poverty, and a lack of education and opportunity. Yet he loves well! He often thinks of others and their needs, though they be the very people who neglect and hurt him. He also looks to help and provide for his siblings.
As Abogar moves forward and grows, we will be misunderstood. Some may believe that we are trying to be a big organization, famous and powerful. But that is where the misunderstanding lies. I don’t care about size, but I do care about faithfulness to God’s calling for us, His children, to go and make disciples of all nations! He has called Abogar International Ministries to fight for children of Latin America, and we will continue growing and moving forward, making disciples of precious children; while fighting for them to have forever families, forever homes, and educational opportunities!
The greatness that we have and offer, at Abogar International Ministries, is not in our name or size, but is in the love and ministry of God that we carry out with these precious children! To those of you who do NOT misunderstand this, we thank you immensely! Your continued prayer and financial support are crucial to our success and forward movement for the glory of God! Thank you again!