People make poor choices. Some of those choices limit their future options, others lead them down a path that will result in further difficulty.
What I find, from the sidelines, is that folks are not appreciative of those who make it their agenda to loudly proclaim the foolishness of those choices with a gleeful air of superiority. Comments like, get a job… if you quit smoking you would have another $500 per month… or…. Only an idiot would make a choice like that… does not tend to endear us to those who are struggling.
“Why would you marry someone like that?” Is seldom followed by the words, “I see what you mean, thank you for pointing it out.”
No more than a superficial reading of the Scriptures will show us that Jesus didn’t spend his time on the sidelines, wagging his head and talking under his breath. He didn’t cross to the other side of the street to avoid dealing with those in crisis.
He didn’t spend his time condemning those who were in wrecks, he helped them in the aftermath. His first reaction was not to judge, but to care.
Jesus didn’t sit on the sidelines with protest signs, or become the one who made huge sighs and eye rolls. No one felt he was such a good guy that he was unapproachable.
So how did he pull that off? Well, it seems that he cared about people. Not what they did, what their mistakes were, or even how many times they had done the same mistake. He cared about the impact of the choices on the individual.
The woman taken in adultery was forgiven, cared about, and urged to make better choices. The woman at the well was seen as important, had her questions answered, and made to feel valuable. The blind man went from being the product of sinful parents to being someone so special that God had a plan for him.
Being willing, able, and available to the wrecks around you can be frustrating. It means that you will have lots of situations that you aren’t sure what the answers are. Learning to love, care and point to God might seem too small to you, but it is great in the lives of the fallen.
You see, we don’t get to pick the family we are born into. Perhaps your parents taught you good values, great decision making skills, and even helped you get started. Or you might not have had any of that. You might have been raised in a family that believed everyone was out to get them. Perhaps you were taught from 3-4 years old to steal and cheat. Perhaps your family saw it as “survival”. Can you imagine the choices that come from those situations?
Breaking the cycle is difficult and only happens with your availability. It doesn’t happen when people are sent to incarceration and are taught “good values” from other inmates.
So, I urge you, put down your protest sign and get your mop bucket ready. It will be messy, but it is the only way that things improve.