I am reflecting again tonight on a point that has haunted me since I started my faith journey. A significant portion of my journey has been time spent getting to know people deemed outcasts from society, many seeking spiritual understanding and hope. I am struck by the treatment of these people by others. Alcoholics. Non-heterosexuals. Abused. Abusers. Divorced. Never married. The list could go on. I know the related Bible verses and I trust them as truth, and I challenge any readers to always seek God’s Word and the intent of His Word.
It is striking that person after person I’ve met has been spiritually, physically, and/or sexually abused or severely neglected. Not once, by one person. But many, many times. The societal neglect then continues often even in faith environments. Some tortured to extents I cannot even begin to imagine.
My learning is that God doesn’t call for enabling of behavior that is not of Him, or to trade our own lives for someone else’s behavior or lack of knowledge of God. However, the scripture is clear that He seeks all people come to know Him. God’s light can be shown so many ways. Many people have never seen even small kindnesses. Or had their life experiences denied. What would make a difference is an extra minute or ten minutes of prayer. Compassion in speaking and brightening a day. Checking that someone is OK and their basic needs are met. Or reminding of their human value – God’s creation.
The devil is sick and cunning. If your life experience resembles one mentioned above, I pray that you lean in and seek God’s goodness, grace, and truth. Even if it doesn’t make sense. If this has not been your life experience, I pray that you not learn or ever understand this torment. I fear that one of the biggest deceptions in the church is that church-goers will be saved and none of the outcasts will be. I also ask if you might join in prayer for people who are suffering. In church, I’ve been asked a few times as a challenge to choose one person to pray for that they come to know Christ. Or to invite someone to church. There are many people who will not step foot in a church, yet God seeks them too. I’m going to ask you instead not to underestimate God. Once a week, please consider naming 10 people you’ve met and ask God for full restoration and healing of their souls. If you can’t think of ten people, please consider asking God to show you who to pray for. If you are able, please consider getting down on your hands and knees in prayer pose and beg and plead and cry out to God for their souls and healing. He is good. He will hear you. And He will work miracles. You may not see it immediately, but in time, I believe you will. And it is worth every single second you give. I believe prayer and sharing God’s Word is far more powerful than giving money, food, or any other physical item. (Those should be given appropriately too, of course!) Do you have 10 minutes? Even if this doesn’t change someone else, it may change you.
“Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.””
John 6:28-29 NIV
Holy Father, I pray for name ten people. Please heal their hearts and minds and offer them your redeeming grace. Please right any wrongs that have been done to them. If I have wronged them, please cleanse my heart and mind. I seek that Your will be done in their lives. Teach me and those around me to see human life in the precious way you intended. I thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus in my place. Amen.