«Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot» (Judges 11:1).
DON ALFREDO TOLD ME his story as he was seated next to me on a cement bench in a public park. The fresh air brushed our faces while the soft rays of the sun quietly penetrated between the leaves of the tree that provided us with shade During almost three hours, I was able listen to man telling us his sad experiences of childhood. At times, my tears pushed out from within me to find a way out, because each word that Don Alfredo told me was a real story of pain.
«Take your things and leave. You will no longer live with us!» his siblings had said to him. His mother had died because of a cut she had had while she was working on the coffee plantations. The cut was deep and caused an infection that ended up getting gangrenous. So that is where Alfredo found himself: in the street and without having a place to go, and barely seven years old!! My little son Hany was also seven years old at the time Don Alfredo told me his story. Imagining my little boy in a similar situation was more than I could bear.
Little Alfredo went to the central park in the city of San José in Costa Rica. There he sat down on a cement bench similar to the one we were using. He was weeping and weeping, not knowing that he would end up being a street child—a difficult experience, if ever there was one, that urges us to see the world with different eyes, to judge people in a different way, to value what we have and share it generously with those who have never enjoyed our privileges.
The Bible speaks to us about a person named Jephthah. Just like what happened to Don Alfredo, Jephthah’s brothers also «drove Jephthah out, and said to him, ‘You shall have no inheritance in our father’s house’ » (Judges 11:2). That young man, the son of a prostitute, «fled from his brothers and dwelt in [another] land» (verse 3), without knowing what would become of his life. He left with no direction in mind, sad and helpless. At that moment, he was a man with no social prestige. However, it is not social prestige that concerns our God. He sees every situation and makes us feel His presence. He can use any person for His glory, whatever his origin may be. He does not judge as we do.