Why am I here?
There are times in my ministry that I receive “unsigned one-liners” as I call them. The author is either very angry or embarrassed. One of them that I received recently simply demanded that I tell them one good reason why they were alive. Gosh, I wish I really could know the complete answer to that one…but I can say a few things.
I could feel the hurt, anger and frustration emanating from that page. What the author did not know is that I demanded that answer some 18 years ago. I smile a bittersweet smile as I read the question, remembering my own experience. God has brought me a long way.
How could I give this person hope? In only this brief moment, how could I reach out and show Christ’s love to them? Since a pat answer only flames the fire, I asked many questions.
Starting with what I knew, I told the author that they mattered to God and to me. Following that, I needed to ask questions; all kinds of questions meant to get a better understanding of why that person felt the way they did and what they meant by their statement. Very often, what a person means gets lost in the translation. We often can read meaning into someone else’s words, and we can form wrong judgments about a person based on our own bias.
The next thing I needed to do was to find out what they were thinking and how they concluded that there was no good reason for them to be here. I told them that I cared and sent my reply. Then I just began to pray.
If or when I hear back from that person, I will begin to build a relationship with them beyond the prayer one I have now. I need to earn the right to speak into this person’s life. I need to get to know them in a better way. A mere question does not give me an invitation to give further advice or judge their motives.
I recently experienced that judgment. A person, who does not know me at all, recently advised me in a way that showed their lack of knowledge of me personally, and revealed a prejudice against what may be seen as a stereotype of who this person thinks that I am. While I am sure that this person is trying to be helpful, their method left much to be desired. It would have been helpful if this person tried to understand who I was, and why I did things before jumping to conclusions and taking offense. This person “deconstructed” my meaning and inserted their own. My heart, and meaning, was not considered and a judgment was made based on an imposed motive.
I would like to get to know this person better. From my view, it seems they have a chip on their shoulder in an effort to self-protect. It is unfortunate, because when we do this we obstruct our view of reality. If we all did that, we would not be able to communicate at all. We would never really get to know “the other” and our reason for being here is diminished.
Perhaps that is where the inquirer is. If you pray with me, maybe they will write back.