One person said, “We’re born wet, hungry, and naked. Then things get worse.” Life can be cruel and unfair. We can get beat down just trying to live. And, we can get marked by our failures.
In a country where we are introduced with our employment as part of our name, “This is Greg. He’s a doctor.” Or, “This is Tammy. She’s an attorney.” It’s easy to start whispering about others, “That’s Bill. He’s an alcoholic.” I have to fight reducing people to simple labels if I am going to share Christ with them. Here’s how I do it.
I have a little game I play. I look at the people around me and try to imagine them as little children. Who were their friends? What was their family like? What games did they play? What did they dream they wanted to be when they grew up? Did their dreams come true? When I do this, I start seeing these people in different ways. It really helps me to see them in a new light.
One of my favorite movies is “Disney’s The Kid.” It’s about an unhappy and disliked image consultant (Bruce Willis) who gets a second shot at life when an eight year old version of himself (Spencer Breslin) mysteriously appears. In one scene, Russ Duritz (Willis) is asking a friend, Deirdre Lafever (Jean Smart), about what to say to his younger self about what happens as he grows up. She says that if she were talking to her younger self she would say, “Baby, everything’s going to be great.” And then she adds, “I mean how many of us turn out to be the way we think we will when we are kids, really? How many of us grow up to be … astronauts? Or prima ballerinas? We just all do the best we can.”
Sometimes our theological terms get in the way of evangelizing. If we look at people as sinners: gay, lesbian, prostitute, drug addict, alcoholic, unwed mother, adulterer, or thief we reduce their humanity. People do not have greater or lesser value because of their good or bad deeds. People have value because they are created in the image and likeness of God and Jesus was willing to shed his blood for all of them.
Instead of looking at people as problems to be fixed, I try to remember that these are all people that need to be loved and accepted. By doing this, I open the door for the Holy Spirit to move in and help them to see the possibilities of a brand new life with brand new goals and dreams.
God’s amazing love can help them realize that they are not a ‘nobody’ or a ‘loser’ because of their past. They will discover that they are somebody with a future because of Who loves them.
This little girl gets it. I think her statements to us apply to everyone we meet.
Great video. ——>I am somebody