We’re told to not judge a book by its cover and yet it’s also said that perception is everything. I guess that’s why a book’s cover is so important. This past weekend, some have tried to change the “book cover” of Bangladesh (click here for more information). For decades, it’s been defined by poverty and continual disasters. Yet, most foreigners, visitors or residents, are humbled by the congenial spirit of the people and their generosity to give even out of their need. Bangladeshis as a rule are kind, loving people who give undo respect to foreigners.
No, Bangladesh didn’t change overnight on July 1st; but the perception of it did. And, for that I grieve. I grieve for the way many will view Bangladesh in the future. I grieve that the majority of good Bangladeshis may be viewed as coming from a terrorist country. I grieve that a few young men were able to give the world a distorted view of a country of people who are shamed and disgusted by their behavior. I grieve for the minorities who now live in fear—not of discrimination—but their very lives. I grieve for the loss of loving, caring, Godly people who could serve here and make a difference.
Though the perception of Bangladesh was tarnished this week, I am able to choose how I will define the country and people God has called us to. Focusing on the few who do evil acts will only bring fear which not only does not come from God but will handicap me. Focusing on the God Who called and remembering that the heartbeat of most Bangladeshis is goodness and kindness gives me hope, which frees me to continue in God’s call.