Several years ago, my wife Joy and I were watching in despair as one of our children walked through a very dark and difficult place. The journey was terrifying and we felt helpless to help him. We had simply run out of answers and resources. We lost track of him completely for a while and I lived in the daily fear that the next time I heard about him would be from a coroner. At the depth of my despair, a friend told me something that completely changed my perspective. He said, “Dave, you have to remember that he’s not your son. He has a Father in heaven who loves him even more than you do and is infinitely better equipped to help him than you are.” Wow! In that moment, I realized several profound truths:
1. Fear for my children has a root of pride buried in it. I always assumed it was my job to “fix” my children, when in fact that’s HIS job, not mine.
2. Fear for my children also has a root of faith weakness. I had forgotten to trust that my Father cares for all of HIS children, even those HE entrusted to me for a time.
3. Most importantly, everyone walking on this planet is a child of God. It doesn’t matter if that person believes like me, behaves like me, worships like me or acknowledges God in any way at all.
It’s that third truth that I want to dwell upon for just a few moments. All too often, I struggle with categorizing and judging people around me. Don’t get me wrong, I run into people every day whose behavior or beliefs stretch my tolerance to its limits. I can be quick to avoid or write off individuals and even whole groups of people. Worse, I can say I accept them, but then I put up all sorts of qualifications and performance standards before I’ll let them be a part of my family.
But the plain reality is that there is not a single person on this planet who was not created by God and who is not loved by God. It’s not my place to judge people. Nor is it my place to “fix” people. As near as I can read my Bible, I only have two responsibilities to everyone I meet. I need to love them and I need to show them the truth about my Father as best as I understand it.
Everyone we meet is a part of God’s family (and therefore ours), whether they know it or not. Our job is to live lives of such grace and gentleness that others will see the love of God reflected through us. Remember, the only Gospel most people will ever read is the one they see written in our lives.
My prayer is to be salt and light to a world that desperately needs to know their Father. Mission Lazarus does this in a hundred ways, every day. We are looking to expand our reach to new remote communities and need partners who can give to us monthly.