How could they just screw up their life like that? What a colossal failure. Why didn’t they just decide better? Some people need to just get in gear and pull themselves together.
Yeah sure they should. If they could just be more put together like you. Like me. NOT!
See the problem is when you’re in the pit, you don’t need someone to come along side you and condemn you for being in the pit, even if it is a disaster of your own making. No, what people need is a friend. A friend who is honest and understands bad choices lead to bad consequences but they love you anyway. A pit-dweller needs someone who will climb down and sit beside them and stay awhile. Not an enabler, but a disarmer of that which entangles you is what is called for.
Judgment is reserved for those who hear our trials and determine the consequences. But mercy? Well that’s a higher way. Mercy is dispensed liberally from those who have a compassionate heart and realize that forgiveness can lead a person living in shame out of darkness quicker than condemning them.
Next time you see the so-called bum on the corner, realize maybe they aren’t just another bum, but a hurting heart that took a series of wrong turns coupled with some circumstances beyond their control. Maybe the teenager who is always wasted hates himself more than the people who pass him by totally unaware, except for a momentary case of disdain. Maybe the person you know who is behaving stupidly needs to be reminded that you care enough to let them know you cannot stand idly by and watch them destroy their life and the lives of those around them. Confront them. In love. In truth. Maybe they’ll lash out. Or perhaps they’ll break. Maybe they’ll just deny. Or avoid you. Be courageous and persist. The truth takes a stab at our dark hearts until hopefully some of the light will seep back in.
We all need someone who loves enough to hold us accountable, but we especially need it when we’re being gripped by that which can destroy us whether it’s outward behaviors or inward attitudes. We need someone who won’t let us blame others for our mistakes and someone brave enough to not let us be a perpetual victim. A real no-nonsense, no-excuses type friend is someone who lets you be you without trying to change you, but draws the line when you cross over into narcissism just because you’re down and out. A true friend will build your self-esteem with encouragement but will call you out at the first seeds of arrogance. A friend for life is the one who will sit beside you in the pit and never let you go back to the place that helped you get here. They know your dirt but love you enough to not pass it around for others to inspect.
No man (or woman) is an island. It’s true; sometimes you can’t make it on your own. You can’t save everyone you ever encounter but if there is someone in your life whose story is stirring up unrest in your soul, all I can say is this. Help them. Go get them. Don’t ignore your instincts. Be the life-preserver that allows rescue to happen. Above all, pray for them. Be courageous enough to say something. You may not be able to save them or change them, but God can. When they are ready to choose change, you can be their biggest cheerleader to encourage them to hang in there and take steps in a different direction.
Don’t abandon the hurting or injured. Don’t pass by the down and outers. Don’t hold back your love from those who need it most. None of us are a hopeless case. And in case you feel forgotten or neglected or abandoned, rest assured if you are still here, even if people have forgotten you, God has not.
Never forget that! Hold on. You may not feel it yet. You may not believe it. But you too are loved.
“Touch me. Take me to that other place. Reach me. I know I’m not a hopeless case…..” More than a song, perhaps it’s a prayer of someone you know. Who will you reach out to and love today?