The Heart of Who We Are (words by Brittany)
If you’ve ever met one of us and asked us the question of “why bags?” we would say to you that, “the bag is just a tool for us to go and meet new faces.” When it comes down to it, that’s the heart of who we are. It’s the stories we get to hear and the stories we feel honored to share that are deeply rooted in our hearts.
Over the years we have seen so many things in our ministry. We have heard some painful stories behind the faces that we have met. One would think that after close to two years of ministry, we would have our thoughts and opinions in place about our views of the world. But for me, I feel like just when I think I have it figured out, the Lord breaks down my preconceived notions and reveals Himself to me in a whole new way that shifts my thinking completely.
We are in a society that likes the storybook ending where one finds help and then succeeds from that point out, but sometimes that isn’t the reality. The reality is that we are human and we stumble. And one of my realities is that I sometimes grow weary and disappointment weighs heavy on my mind to where I think, “why can’t this person just get their priorities right? Can’t they see there is so much more to life?”
BUT…it’s in that moment when I realize that I am only seeing them surface level.
It’s exactly in those moments that I see how self-righteous my own heart is. It’s not up to me to judge somebody’s actions or condemn him or her in my mind for doing them. It is however, up to me to play my part in the gospel story and show them the love of Christ and extend grace.
Recently the idea of “preaching the gospel to myself” was brought to my attention. I found this concept to be quite interesting because ever since the gospel story is told to us, we are told to tell the world about it. In some sort of way, unconsciously, it can become this outward thing of teaching others of Jesus. I think sometimes we forget that we to need to remind ourselves of it’s truth and rediscover Christ for our own sake.
“Grace is concerned about what God is doing in the heart.” This statement cuts me to my core. It’s asking myself the question, “Am I more concerned for this person’s heart than I am about their behavior?” It’s a tough and sobering question to meditate on. Sometimes we can go into a situation thinking to ourselves “well you know they had it coming, they got what they deserved” but we always need to remember that God isn’t a God of giving people what they deserve, if that was the case we would have no hope in life, so neither should we. What He is however, is a God of many characteristics, two of them being compassion and grace, and if we really want to live that life that demands an explanation this might be a good place to start.
For us, the fact is stereotypes are out there and will always be. It is my prayer though, that we can break down those walls and go into every situation with a new set of eyes that cut straight through to the heart of the person we get the privilege of meeting and see them how the Lord does.
Moving forward, our goal is to become better at telling the stories we have been trusted with and share with others the hearts of people with have gotten to meet. I’m tired of categorizing and I’m tired of stereotypes because really we are all the same and we all have a story to share.
And it’s our job to have them be heard.