Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Toughest Love

I wrote yesterday about the honor of speaking at a drug court graduation. My intent was to share some motivating thoughts (and a little Jesus at the same time) and I spent quite a while thinking about what to say. My desire was to provide some benefit while being part of something larger than my small portion. I hope what I had to say helped someone there, but for me the most powerful things said were by the graduates themselves. Each person shared a letter they had written about their experiences and how far they had come through the program. There was power in all of these shared stories, but there was one comment in particular that hit home with me. It was shared by a graduate who said that they "had to become a person I could love again."

There is a ton of powerful, personal truth in that statement. I could feel their pain from where they had been and the poor choices they had made. There was also a sense of resolution from not wanting to return to that lifestyle. This transparency revealed the heart of a weary traveler who realized they had given up on themselves like so many others in their life had done. It also revealed how far they had come in walking down a better life path and reestablishing the person they wanted to be.

Self-loathing and negative self-talk are terribly debilitating devices. These can become heavy burdens which press down on us until we can't think about moving forward. When we are unable to love ourselves we lose our sense of worth and struggle with the idea of life transformation and redemption. It's in the middle of this terrible hopelessness that we need a lifeline. We need someone who is willing to love us no matter what we've done and where we've ended up. People who are willing to love unconditionally provide a hint of hope and a chance to be pulled out of the pit of dark desperation.

Are we willing to step into that role for people in need? Are willing to offer gracious love, hope, and help to people wanting to make life changes? As people start the recovery process they need to know they don't have to rediscover love on their own. We can stand together with them-as difficult as that may be-and continue to be a source of consistent love. It's the best way of helping people find the path of restoration.

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