Monday, June 27, 2011

Reach Out and Step In

~by Veronica Brown
Veronica is blessed to be the wife of Clint Brown. Clint currently preaches for the Farmersville church of Christ in north Texas. She is also blessed to be a stay at home mom to two boys, Jeremy (13) and Joshua (11). She has been a preacher's wife, Bible class teacher, missionary, and a host of other things for the Lord for the past 14 years and she's thankful for every moment God uses to mold her into His image. 
     Everyone wants to fit in somewhere. Some of us are fortunate enough to find that first acceptance in a home where we feel love and approval by the people we care about most. We thrive in this type of environment of acceptance and understanding. It makes us feel good because we know that someone accepts us—flaws and all—and that someone wants what’s best for us ultimately. Unfortunately, through no fault of their own, many young people today find themselves in homes that are in desperate need of repair. In the one place where they should find understanding and acceptance first, oftentimes they do not. Those closest to them are the farthest away. The result is two-fold. First, not only are these young people already dealing with their “normal” adolescent difficulties but now they are forced to face these and other challenges—alone. Consequently, this leaves them widely vulnerable. There is now a void that needs and desires to be filled.
     As important as it is to have a family unit who understands, accepts, and loves you for who you are, it’s much more important to obtain the acceptance of the Father of our heavenly home. “If you do well, will you not be accepted? If you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is to rule over you, but you should rule over it” (Genesis 4:7). If we do well, we gain acceptance with God. Understandably, young people who live with and are surrounded by individuals who love them and are attentive to their physical and spiritual needs will find it easier to “do well” because of such guidance. These will thrive. And with such God is certainly well pleased. What about those who do not have access to this immediate and consistent push to “do well”? Do you know of any young people who may even be living in “Christian” homes yet are still searching for who they are and what they are supposed to be about? These individuals are at a grave disadvantage and their lives suffer an enormous void. Where shall they go for help and guidance?
     Broken homes may abound but there is a place this side of heaven’s realm where anyone should be able to go in order to be encouraged, strengthened, loved, and accepted—flaws and all. God’s family here on earth, the church, should be a haven for all of us—young and old. If we aren’t “popular” among one another in our quest to “do well” then there is something terribly wrong. I want to feel like I am important to my brothers and sisters in Christ and I want my brethren of any age to feel like they are important to me because we all matter to God. How do we do it? Simple: reach out and step in.
     A young sister was going through a very difficult time in her young life. Her home life had fallen apart and those closest to her were the farthest away. Many of her brethren expressed their sadness to her for the situation she was facing but she still felt like no one cared. Then someone stepped in—spent some time with this young person, listened to her talk about her situation, offered God’s Word for advice and comfort, prayed for her, checked on her every day, told her she was being prayed for, offered an open door through calling, texting, or just dropping by. Someone reached out and this young sister noticed. She later commented, “Everyone kept saying they cared but I didn’t feel like they really did. But now I know that that person really does care.”
     We need to be the ones reaching out to those who have a void in their lives. If we don’t, someone else will and that someone else may not be the best thing for that young person. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, “Will I?” Whether they are my own children or someone else’s, am I going to help these young people make God their priority? Am I going to help them seek God’s kingdom first? Am I going to help them “do well” and seek acceptance with God?
     As a mother, it personally doesn’t bother me one bit if my children never gain acceptance among the “in” crowd at school or are voted “Most Popular” by their peers. What matters most to me is their soul’s acceptance by God. Do well, be accepted. Do not do well and sin waits for you. Sin wants to rule over you. Rule over it. I have a great responsibility before my Maker to nurture and admonish my own children in this way. I also have a great responsibility to my brethren, young and old, to reach out and step in, and to want what’s ultimately best for my brethren. I must desire God’s acceptance and accept God’s desire for my life and for His people.

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