His Eye is on the Sparrow
By: Susan Schiller
The song, "His Eye is on the Sparrow," has been playing on the Spirit station of my mind. "Economic justice" is a phrase I've been running into a lot lately, and it's message is burrowing deep into my mind. Down beneath the layers of self-preservation.
Who are these sparrows that Christ talks about – the ones His Father's eyes are upon? The ones He is fascinated by?
29 Not one sparrow (What do they cost? Two for a penny?) can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t worry! You are more valuable to him than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-31
Written by Civilla Martin more than 100 years ago, "His Eye is on the Sparrow" was inspired by a bedridden elderly woman and her disabled husband who supported her from his wheelchair. This couple simply adored each other and cherished every day together.
They didn't marvel at their "impossible" circumstances, they simply marveled at their great God and how "His eye is on the sparrow."
Most of the year, the sparrows in my backyard must wait for the blackbirds, the bluebirds, and the robins to move out of the way. Lowest in the pecking order, they are often chased away. I have seen many of us, Christians we call ourselves, do the very same to the "least of these". It's been this way since before Ezekiel penned chapter 34 of the book by his name.
“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord … this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” – Ezekiel 16:48-50
What?? I used to think Sodom was destroyed because of sexual immorality, most notably, homesexuality! But no, homosexuality is not listed as Sodom's greatest sin. It's neglect of justice. It's ignoring the suffering right outside our door!
In light of Micah 6:7-8, these are our daily marching orders.
"He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" (NKJV)
When Christ came to earth he tried to show us that we were living life backwards and it was hell for the majority of us, with only 1-2 % of the population getting the benefits of an abundant life. He tried to help us understand that abundance is the inheritance of us all, even down to the least sparrow.
On an individual level, I must repent for my religious background, my own mispractices, and my own pride and prejudices… because there is still suffering outside my door. Any too many times I'm oblivious, or in my own state of overwhelmed, I close my eyes when there might be something I could do, even simply to pray.
In the parable of the goats and sheep, the only mark of distinction was how they treated the sparrows – those the world deemed less worthy.
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ – Matthew 25:31-46
Maybe it's not simply food or money they need. Maybe they just want to feel normal for a moment. Maybe they just want to fit in. Maybe they want to be respected and honored as part of the Body of Christ… and not put into the category of a "needy person".
I'm speaking of the orphans and widows of sociopathic abuse, specifically, because these victims, in so many cases, cannot escape their predators due to economic distress.
They haven't done anything wrong. They are not a danger to society. They are simply sparrows.
Just because a "larger bird" has a house, a car, a retirement account, air conditioning and furnace, and a full refrigerator does not mean they are better than the victim of a sociopath who has lost everything.
When we pretend to know the answers and we lean on our own understanding, we just might be like the robin, the blackbird, or the blue jay who chases away the sparrow.
They may be a blessing in disguise. They may be God's messenger sent to test you, regarding the practice of hospitality and your obedience to God's call.
It may not be your ministry, your counseling, your teaching that they most need. Maybe they just need to be seen, to be heard, to be respected for all they are going through. Maybe they just need to be with someone NORMAL!
There is great healing for victims of sociopaths, simply in hanging out with normal people. Do you know what usually happens instead? When we are not shunned we are ignored. We are called "too needy" and "too much". Worse, what happens most of the time is we are exploited. Almost unbelievable, but true, it's mainly Christians who exploit us.
They see a sparrow, and like the black birds and blue jays, they are not content to push us away, but they take advantage of our weakness, forcing us to work without pay. Odd? Incredible? Yes, but I just have way too many stories that confirm this as true in the majority of cases. I'm talking about Christian LEADERS in both business and ministry. And their followers turn their heads, pretending not to notice what is happening in broad daylight!
Abusers are having a hey-day because nice Christian ladies don't want to get dirty, messy, and bothered by the torn up, chewed up, and emaciated spiritual bodies of survivors of domestic violence.
There are ones who offer healing ministry, saying, "We want to minister to you. if you pay us $2000 you can have 20 hours of personal counseling and follow up care via email. They justify demanding payment for casting out the victim's demons, saying, "We've discovered that people who pay for their ministry obtain the greatest benefits." (Exact quote). No more "freely you have received, so freely give".
Can I count how many Christian leaders see a sparrow – a victim of sociopathic abuse – and lure her into a safe harbor only to expect sexual favors? Who will people believe? Her, the down and out person… or the charitable figure they know and love?
Our Father's eye in on the sparrow. Let's be His eye… and His hand… and His feet. I cannot help but speak up for justice. There is no pecking order in the Kingdom of heaven – not like we think here on earth.
Is there a solution? I think it's so simple that we don't see it.
How about a return to the biblical practice of hospitality? Jesus seemed to think it relevant. See what he says in Matthew 10 about sending people out to minister – they were to depend on hospitality, not fundraising.
How would this ancient practice look like today? Like Facebook-in-person …. everyone attuned to status updates, really listening, really seeing, and then doing something to love the person in front of them. My granddaughter saw this in a vision and I wrote it down for us at "Live the 13th".
I'm utterly convinced we can write ourselves into a better world. You see, when I write what has just been written here, I'm not just blowing a horn to raise awareness of the injustice sociopathic victims experience… no, I'm speaking to my own self… as a survivor of sociopathic abuse… to RISE UP and to BE THE SOLUTION for the people outside my door.
"Who is my neighbor?" a man once asked Jesus, as he told the story of the Good Samaritan. Indeed… sometimes I wonder if I have not experienced so much injustice myself… because my heart was so hardened inside my Christian bubble… that I had become part of a cult, part of a diabolical plan to erase true religion off the planet. I still weep….
With all my love,
Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.
Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.
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