Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 31, 2016

The Ranks of the Ruined

I live in a community of well-manicured boulevards and lawns. And, like many folks where I live, I have my clothes cleaned and pressed at the dry cleaners and my vehicle washed and then hand-dried at the local car wash. I live in a world of conveniences that enable me to enjoy a muss-free life.

A few years ago while serving at Mother Teresa’s homes in Kolkata, a team member asked me an interesting question. After briefing our team about what to expect when serving the least of these, I was asked, “Do you think my clothes will get ruined?” I smiled and replied, “Not really, but I’m certain you will get ruined.”

Amy's MT Photo
And then I continued by explaining that the best way to describe what happens to those who serve the least of these in places like Mother Teresa’s homes is that God ruins them. Anyone who cares for outcastes like those rescued by the Missionaries of Charity comes away from the experience changed. Life will never be as neat, clean, and crisp for them as it once was.

Being the hands and feet of Jesus means moving in the direction of people in need — sometimes in desperate need and in terribly messy situations. This ruins the way people look at the world. It makes it hard to whine and complain, like Goldilocks, about whether a seat is too hard or too soft. Stuff like that just won’t seem as important as it once was.

Moving in the direction of those in need also ruins the way in which we look at the people around us. No longer are we able to breeze through life without regard for the neglected and hurting people who inhabit the blurry world of our peripheral vision. When we become ruined we have to consider whether the person we are moving toward may actually be Jesus in the distressing disguise of the hurting.

Living out our faith incarnationally also ruins the way in which we think. God makes it difficult for us to think only about ourselves and instead guides us to consider the interests of others. We can no longer regard our time and finances as exclusively our own but instead must wrestle with how to invest these resources to change the world.

God uses ruined people to make a difference. The good news is that God can ruin us right where we live if we will allow Him to use us to love others without condition and serve them without hesitation. And, once we do so, our lives will never be the same — they will, in fact, be better. So, allow God to ruin you for His glory and for the good of others. Join the ranks of the ruined who are working to make the world a better place.


  1. Omar, Thanks for being a part of ‘ruining me’. My trips to Kolkata and serving with you at Mother Teresa’s definitely stretched me and left a mark in my life. A very good mark!

    • Glad we were able to share those experiences at Mother Teresa’s homes. Definitely life-changing.

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