So I'd like to start with a quick run-down of people I know, either in my family or neighborhood, and the realities of it all. In this small group I find:
- Two former alcoholics
- One diagnosed psychotic
- One former drug addict
- One high school dropout
- Two people who have been divorced
- Two women who have been raped
- One teenager who started life as a crack baby
- A father who has children by three different women, none of whom he ever married
- An unmarried mother who is a drug addict and, when short of cash, a prostitute
- A girl being raised by her grandmother because her mother somehow cannot manage and her father did not stay around
- A former drug addict recently released from prison, trying to straighten out her life
- A young boy who had his first sexual experience at age seven, courtesy of a more experienced girl who was ten years old
The point? We all struggle sometimes. Nobody walks through this world and comes out completely clean, untouched by the sin in ourselves or in our loved ones. How in the blazes someone can dream that Christianity is irrelevant is beyond me. How someone can look at such a broken world and think that a clear sense of right and wrong is oppressive rather than liberating, or that redemption after a fall is unneeded -- that kind of fiction is only possible in a world where we put on blinders to the aching realities around us.
So I would just like to offer some encouragement for us along the way. We never need to be ashamed of knowing right from wrong. We never need to wonder whether we are needed, and whether a kind word is helpful, in the middle of that amount of brokenness. We never need to wonder whether redemption and a clean slate and forgiveness for the sake of Christ are really good news. And we never need to pretend that it doesn't touch our own lives, our neighbors and our families and ourselves. When we pretend it doesn't affect us, we lose our effectiveness. We relate to weakness because we've all been there.