«Jephthah fled from his brothers and dwelt in the land of Tob; and worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him» (Judges 11:3).
As I WEPT in despair,» Don Alfredo continued telling me, «children of all sizes and all ages came up to me. They wore dirty clothes, just like their faces, and each one carried a little wooden box like the ones of those who cleaned shoe in parks. The oldest one, about twelve years old, spoke to me, and the others were silent. ‘What happened to you? he asked me. ‘I just got thrown out of the house,’ I answered him, inconsolable. ‘Another one!’ said the tallest boy. ‘Follow us,’ he added. And I followed them.»
Alfredo went to live with those children in a shack of tin cans and cardboard. There, in his new home, he learned to smoke, to drink alcohol, and to use drugs. Poor child! The tragedy of this world is sin, and it impacted Alfredo filly. From that moment on, for that street child, life changed to committing crimes, one after another. He did not have many options, since he was between a rock and a hard place.
The case of Don Alfredo seems like that of Jephthah even in the details of his experience. Just as our Bible text today mentions, «worthless men banded together with Jephthah and went out raiding with him» (Judges 11:3). In other words, Jephthah became the leader of a group of unemployed people who went out to entertain themselves. Without a home, without mother or father, without the love of a sibling, abandoned to their luck, that group took a mitigating direction that can be understood given the difficult circumstances that had surrounded him. However, our God, who does not see things as we do, had chosen him for a special mission without taking into account how he was considered by the people of the time. Our limited, simplistic, and biased human considerations do not limit the Lord.
Dear friend, if you feel that because of your difficult origin; because of coming from a dysfunctional home; because of being poor, not having studied, or considering yourself inferior to other women God cannot use you, you are looking at things from the wrong angle. For God, you are acceptable if you allow Him to use you. Your past makes no difference. In fact, your past does not determine your present.