Loving people isn’t only loving those who are easy to love. It’s loving all people even in the middle of their mess. Life is messy but love has a way of turning messes into masterpieces. Love takes a blank canvas and turns it into something beautiful to look at. That’s what God does with our lives. When we’re born we’re dead in our sin and our stories are blank canvases void of God’s purpose for our lives. God’s love paints a new story on something that was once empty, void, and dead. His love turns emptiness into presence and mess into masterpiece.
Loving means asking…
As a youth pastor I have encountered plenty of messes and canvases in much need of God’s love. Wednesday nights are usually when the onion is pealed back and we begin to see the depth of student’s pain, sin, struggle, addiction, rebellion, etc. It’s when the blank canvas void of God’s love is revealed to not only be empty, but scared, dirty, and torn. I have seen many students whose lives are a total mess.
Recently, I was at a youth pastor’s conference and one of the sessions was on being someone who asks questions with intentionality. Loving people means asking questions, because asking questions peals back the layers so that you can discover where someone truly is. You’ll be able to see beyond the generic, “I’m fine”, to how their soul really is doing. Loving people means asking questions that reveal the mess.
Students aren’t the only ones this applies too. It’s for everyone.
Questions have the power to make us think. They also have the ability to challenge us. That can be good for some people and bad for those who don’t like to be challenged. (From my experience if you don’t like to be challenged that’s normally a sure sign of a much deeper mess, such as a pride and authority issue.)
How are you? Better yet, how’s your soul?
HOW’S YOUR SOUL?
That question cuts deep, doesn’t it? Your soul is made up of your mind, will, and emotions. How is it? Are you struggling emotionally? Are your thoughts being held captive by deception? Are you willingly making choices that don’t reflect Jesus? When you love people you will ask them, “How’s your soul?” You will want to bypass the generic how are you and get to their mess so that you can show them God’s love.
Love rewrites bad stories into grand stories. The cross was a brutal story that turned our stories into something beautiful.
Jesus met me in the midst of my mess. Today, I’m a youth pastor, writer, blogger, husband, and father. He rewrote my mess into meaning. His love showed me I have purpose and worth beyond what I ever could imagine. He showed me a father’s love that has the power to transform lives.
God’s love can transform your life too!
Will you let Him?
Jesus meets us in our mess…
You don’t have to clean up your life to come to Jesus. Like He did for me and for millions of other people throughout history….Jesus wants to meet you in your mess. Whatever it is you’re struggling with, addicted too, or drowning in you don’t have to fix it before pushing through like the woman in Matthew 9:20-22. She had a bleeding problem for 12 years and pushed through the crowd (where she shouldn’t have been because she was considered ceremonially unclean) and reached out for Jesus. Even while in the midst of her mess her hands were extended toward the One who can heal. You can reach for Him in the middle of your mess too.
This woman had incredible faith. Bold faith. She was brave enough to believe that Jesus wanted to meet her in the middle of her mess. What’s your problem? Maybe it’s nothing physical like this woman. Maybe it’s emotional. Mental. Relational. No matter what, there’s something amazing that happens when our faith becomes audacious enough to believe Jesus loves us right where we are. Right now.
Know this today: Jesus in a messy world is Jesus loving people. If we are too be His hands and feet we must ask ourselves and others, “How’s your soul?”
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.