|Syrian family during distribution|
Refugees flee with nothing and are understandably desperate. Any human nature tends to undergo changes when placed in life and death situations. What may never be acceptable in our home becomes acceptable now. As an observer, it is interesting to experience the different expressions of morals, right and wrong.
Today is distribution day and like every other Tuesday the need is greater than the ability to supply. However, you do what you can, right? Ten of us drive out in two trucks to give mattresses, gas bottles, stoves and blankets.
The family at the first house is extremely happy to see us, grateful for the supplies. This family, like most Syrian families has numerous children and a great need for blankets as the Jordanian winter edges closer.
We continue on our way, visiting and giving supplies to families, witnessing grateful smiles as we leave.
The next family we visit gives numbers of children and family members to our man in charge. We dutifully carry mattresses and blankets in to bless and help this family. But there is a secret. Inside the house is a locked room and the key can’t be found. The family says, “The landlord must have it.”
“What is the landlord’s phone number?”
“We don’t know,” they replied.
After some searching, the landlord was found and the door unlocked. It turned out this room was full of supplies already received. The family had pulled the proverbial wool over our eyes. The result was we carried our mattresses and blankets back to the trucks, amidst a mixture of anger and shame expressed by the family.
I struggled with how to feel about this situation. On one hand the family was wrong to deceive, when there are so many people who have nothing. However on the other, who am I to judge. I’m not in their situation, having lost my homeland to tyranny and violence, fearing for my life.
What would I do? What would you do? We all hope our desires and responses would be honest, but how can we know? I do think it was the correct decision to take the supplies back and give where the need is legitimate, but I also believe we need to reserve judgment. If we hold judgment in our hearts it becomes wearing and we don’t have time for that. We must continue in love and grace.