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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Givens

Senseless, Brutal Acts of Kindness

God of the worn and tattered

All of Your people matter

Give us more than words to speak

'Cause we are hearts and arms that reach

And love climbs up and down the human ladder


Give us days to be filled with small rebellions

Senseless, brutal acts of kindness from us all

If we stand between the fear and firm foundation

Push against the current and the fall, the current and the fall



I know, I know. It’s not a Bible verse. However, these lyrics mean a lot to me. They were written by a band called Jars of Clay. If you were a Christian youth in the late 90s, you probably remember that band. Well, they’re still around and writing amazing lyrics like the above. I, of course, wasn’t allowed to listen to that kind of music in the 90s (read my other blog posts and you’ll see what I mean). But discovering artists that can put into song some of the deepest truths of Scripture that I missed in my younger days has truly been a blessing to me.


I mention this because Rachel, the boys, and I are about to embark on a new phase in our lives. This thing we’ve been working on for three (!) years is finally about to come to pass. As we contemplate the incredibly challenging mission we are about to begin, these words hit a little closer to home.



We’ll be entering a space where people are up against tremendous odds both to survive and to find people who genuinely care about them. If you’ve read anything we’ve written, you’re probably aware that those in exile in Calais have a belief that they are not wanted. They’ve been subjected to persecution in their home countries and made an incredibly perilous journey across Europe only to discover that they are treated with the same level of indignity and inhumanity that they fled. This is simply heartbreaking.


This is where people like Simon Jones and the board of the Maria Skobtsova Association come in. They are committed to carrying out those «small rebellions » as described in the lyrics above. I love the language here of « senseless, brutal acts of kindness » because it takes the violence that usually accompanies that expression and turns it on its head. Our hope is to live out those acts of kindness on a daily basis both here and in France. God loves all people, even those who are « worn and tattered. » Maybe the ones who need God’s love the most are the ones who are unloved by society. Maybe that’s where we encounter Jesus, in the eyes of the mother desperately trying to protect her children from harm and from the police who have set out to make their lives miserable. I want my children to play with her children. I want to invite her in out of the cold. Even a cup of coffee can make a humungous difference.

The task before us is incredible. What we can do will truly only be small rebellions. But maybe in those rebellions we can have a meaningful, powerful impact on the Kingdom. You who have read my writing before know I love to end on a question. Here’s a question for you: How would the world’s perception of Christ-followers be different if we all committed to filling our days with « senseless, brutal acts of kindness? »


Peace and love go with you, friend. Until we meet again.

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