They gave me words, cloaked in my own voice. This way I’d listen. This way I’d repeat them.
And I’m reminded of Jesus’ and the children. A specific story in which during the message of Jesus, he was approached by parents with young children. His devout followers, thinking they were doing his will, began scolding the youth- shaming them, really. But Jesus. But Jesus said, “let the children come to me and do not stop them” (Matt.19:14).
These men- these disciples had been with Jesus. They sat with him, laughed with him, ate with him. Most importantly, they learned from him. Their purpose in following Jesus was to imitate his lifestyle. And yet, they’d completely misjudged the desire of Jesus. They boldly, and inappropriately, spoke on his behalf, on a matter Jesus had not asked their opinion on.
We do this often. We play gatekeeper at the arms of Jesus, including and excluding those we decide are worthy. And how arrogant to think that we are so big, so knowledgeable that we put our words in God’s mouth. No good comes from this. No good could ever come from people taking on roles they aren’t qualified to take.
So, to you, wounded by the words of those close to Jesus. I am so very sorry. We are only human. We did not know what we were doing. The extent of the damage we’d create. If we had known, perhaps we’d have been better. Perhaps we’d have told you of the hospitality of God. His kindness. His compassion.
Our God is a God of Redemption. Of writing damn good stories. Of taking you back to the place where you were first emptied- “in the very place where it was said to you, ‘you are not my people.’” In this place, once marked by wounds and trauma, “you will be called ‘child of the Living God’” (Rom. 9:26).
And, to them who claimed you unworthy. Whether ideology. Or church. Or parent. Or self. To them, God says, “let the children come to me and do not stop them.”
May you come trusting. May you come open. May you come at all.