You included him in your gardening activities, taught him how to plant bush beans. You let him play, supervised, in the rain barrel. You made cookies with him and your own daughter. You brought him with you on walks to the market, where you offered ice cream when you could afford it but he always spent his own allowance on canned energy drinks. And every day you didn’t let him in your house, you found him sitting crying on the curb in the summer heat with no one to play with, nothing to drink, no shelter, no shirt on. But then one day you were too sick and exhausted to supervise him anymore. You sent him away, feeling guilty. You left the front door propped open for the air, and next thing you knew he was tiptoeing inside, so you shooed him away and locked it. And then you heard scuffling in the side yard and the garden. And then you heard him on the back porch. And you came to the window to find him trying to break in.
Let’s say your friends were telling you that you shouldn’t go to Social Services, because Social Services would only abuse him and put him on Ritalin, but you couldn’t think of anything else to do, so you went downtown and ratted him out to Social Services. And Social Services sent you to the police station, because of the break-in, and when the police came to his house his mother was staggering outside, mentally impaired, screaming at the whole neighborhood, and you cried, but you thought that was the end of it.
And the next morning, that child was on your porch again, a-knocking at the door like Jesus.
Days later you heard your front door open and close, and then you couldn’t find your daughter. She wasn’t anywhere in the house; she wasn’t playing in the front yard. You had to call the cops. The cops and all the respectable parents searched the block for more than an hour before finding your daughter playing in a stranger’s yard with that respectable blue-eyed skinny putto of a child, who had come to the house and asked her to come with him and she’d assumed it was okay. The yard was just across the alley from your own house, a hundred feet away, but no one had thought to look there. And then you saw that child’s mother, yelling, slurring her words, in nothing but a short nightgown, telling the police that your four-year-old daughter was a bad influence on her eight-year-old son.
And there were a few days of peace, but eventually, there he was again, a-knocking at the door like Jesus.
A few days later you heard his mother on her front porch at night, screaming incoherently, and the little boy begging her to stop, stop, stop, and neighbors screaming out of windows that she ought to be in jail, and then you heard a crack like a whip or a belt and the little boy screaming again. Let’s say that suddenly the street was filled with cop cars, lights blazing, and you were sure that this time they would take that child to safety.
And the next morning, there he was, a-knocking at the door like Jesus.
What would you do?
Honestly, what would you do?
I know I wrote about the tyranny of advice just yesterday. And no advice would do any good, because this happened one year ago; I remembered because I saw it in my Facebook memories. That family has moved a block away, yet the little boy still comes a-knocking at the door ever couple of months. I never let him in anymore. I saw him walking, with his parents, just yesterday. Everyone in the neighborhood knew what was happening, everyone else has washed their hands of that child, and the authorities will do nothing.
What would you do?
I’m at a loss. What do you do when Christ knocks at the door in disguise, but there is absolutely no help you can give Him, and He’s tried to drown your daughter in the wading pool?
Would you run away screaming?
What would you do when you ran out of breath?
What would you do?
(image via Wikimedia Commons)