I have been involved in some form or other in Brazil for 32 years. There’s not much I haven’t seen or experienced. I have intentionally gone where the ugly exists.

However, the thing that still always arrests my attention is the number of malformed and twisted limbs that you see everywhere. Little babies, old adults and everything in between; arms, legs going in the wrong direction as though screwed on backwards, under- and malformed, either too small or too big; diseased, cut off, even falling off. They are everywhere.

I can’t count the number of occasions I’ve wondered if this might have been what it looked like in Israel as Jesus and the early disciples roamed the countryside. The number of folks they encountered who were unable to function in society because of their handicaps was large. Most folks in society ignored them.

The sad thing is that if you are continually exposed to it you begin to lose the capacity to see it; you become hardened or numb, and it no longer phases you like it did when you first saw it. I watch the Brazilians scurry around these unfortunates sitting or lying on the streets, oblivious to their plight. I watch the unfortunates, resigned to a way of life that has short-changed them, take the route of least resistance and not only become dependent on the leftovers of the more fortunate but become enslaved to alcohol.

Even sadder is that I, too, have become numb to their plight. I have to continuously remind myself to see them through the eyes of Jesus, even when I don’t want to.

I think I’ve become twisted…


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