Last Sunday, I sat in church listening to a sermon from Pastor Bianca which just recently struck a chord with me. It’s funny how you can listen to something and the words not even hit you until a week later. She said “You don’t know what people are going through…..” She spoke about a time when she had a miscarriage and she was sitting in a restaurant thinking, no one in here knows what I am going through right now. Isn’t that the truth? I could relate to this story very easily because I myself have had 2 miscarriages. The first one happened my senior year of high school while the second one happened after I had Gabbie. She wasn’t even a year old by the time I was pregnant again. However, I remember that feeling that Pastor Bianca was speaking about. I wanted people to understand my hurt. I wanted people to talk to. I wanted someone to care that I was broken.
I was watching television one day and remember a man saying how “Everyone has a story.” When you watch movies like “Spiderman,” you see someone who goes through a hurtful time in their life which leads them on a path to their “destination.” Peter Parker’s uncle is killed, so he wants to seek out justice and goes after every villain on the streets in search of the one who killed his uncle. This is a fiction story, however, it is not very farfetched. If we looked at someone’s life from beginning until present, it would not be difficult to see why they have chosen a certain path. The problem is, we don’t get the story. We can see the product, but we don’t know what it’s made of.
I was recently speaking with a family member of mine about difficult people. I have always been the type of person to just write someone out of my life if they cause me any turmoil. It is easier just to not deal with that person. I used to avoid folks with difficult personalities like the plague. So I was speaking with this family member and she explained to me how she worked with a woman that had a VERY difficult personality. This woman was always in a bad mood and took it out on those around her. So one day, my family member said a prayer and asked Jesus to help her see this woman the way he does. She realized that there was something going on to make this woman so moody….Something she couldn’t see herself. So the next time she was around this woman, she said “I know we have had our problems, but is there anything I could help you with.” The woman was so happy that my family member asked. She apologized for her bad behavior and explained that she had just been going through a lot.
There are so many approaches we can take with people in life.We can choose to get angry and go off which has always been my approach. OR, we could choose to dig a little bit and find out what the product is made of. I used to have a job as a case manager for a halfway facility. I worked with client’s coming out of prison and those who were on their way if they didn’t make it through our program. Although I cannot speak on individual cases, I can say that this job taught me a lot about judging the book by it’s cover. Part of my job was to sit down and interview each client and find out the bits and pieces of their life. I found that in MANY cases, my client’s had been abused either physically, sexually or verbally as children by a parental figure. Some of them attempted suicide because of the abuse. The harsh cold reality for many of them was realizing that although they were no longer behind bars (FREE!), the world rejected them. As their case manager, it was my job to earn their trust. It’s difficult to counsel someone when they keep you at a distance, so I had to create a place where they felt understood and accepted. Initially starting the job I was very scared.I viewed these people in the same way the majority of society did. However, as I started interviewing each of my client’s, my heart was in a different place. I didn’t see these men as hardened criminals….I saw them as broken. They weren’t born with hard shells around them. The shells were created over time as they faced different hurts in their lives.This is not me defending them or their actions as adults. This is me saying that I had a certain perspective about people that changed once I got to know them. Once I learned their story, I could see why they were on a destructive path.
I was in a position through my job that I could get an insight about people that your average Joe on the street does not have access to. This is the position that Jesus was in when he was on this earth. He was the case manager. He had everyone’s file and knew the story behind each person he spoke with. He ate dinner with the tax collector…..spoke with a Samaritan woman at a well although he was a Jew and it was forbidden…..healed a sick person on the Sabbath day. Did he compromise what he believed when he met with these folks….NOPE. Just the same, he didn’t shun them. Instead, he showed them a love that they had not experienced in this world. He could see every disgusting thing about these people and STILL did not reject them. In fact….when a woman was called out for adultery and was going to be stoned, Jesus said “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her (John 8:7 KJV).” People were so busy looking at this woman’s sin that they forgot those of their own. Maybe because they didn’t regard their own sins as being that bad.
The point is, Jesus had insight! Since Jesus had this insight, he loved those who were considered unlovable. He knew everyone’s makeup. If we had the insight that Jesus has, would we be so cruel towards each other? I will never sacrifice my beliefs to accommodate the culture around me. Just the same, I will not sacrifice my love for people because they don’t agree with my beliefs. In standing up for what I believe…I refuse to stand on others. I refuse to exalt myself above others because I feel I am in the right. Recently a verse was pointed out at church and it goes as follows: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3). God doesn’t look at one stone as more precious than another. Jesus came for the lamb that is lost….not the one that is already found. Remember that. We are all important….we all have a story.