“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”.
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us”.2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 5:5
Turning My Page
When was the last time you fought dirty for the ones you love? Or for an enemy? I’m not talking cheating, I am talking about getting dirt under the nails, sweat on the brow, and dig deep into all you’ve got and then give more. Love the spouse who hurt you deeply. Treat the bully at work with kindness. Fighting dirty is not based upon changed behavior, it is deeply rooted in who Christ is in us.
We love because he first loved us. God didn’t just give us a list of do’s and don’ts, pat us on the back, and send us on our way. We can’t give those battling depression a toolbox of mental health solutions and leave them to figure it out.
God was and is involved since the creation of the world. He formed us with his hands. Nothing else in all of creation is described that way and even when Adam and Eve left God’s perfect plan, he stayed involved. So much so, that at just the right time, while we were still sinning, he came to earth in the form of a human child.
Jesus experienced rejection, sweat, felt thorns dig into his skin, and bears scars on his back from loving us. He knew our struggle with temptation. He knew we were oppressed, and he knew our depression. He fought dirty for us. Jesus told the disciples when he returned to heaven, he would still be with them through the Holy Spirit and that was enough for them to get their own hands dirty with humanity.
Depression, suicide, hopelessness is a dark and dingy place because hopelessness is wrapped in lies about our identity and the character of God. I was once smothered in those lies and my poor sweet son died in those lies. Children counter such a devious and destructive attack that often begins in their early development. I don’t accept that I’m helpless to fight back. My weapon is scripture. Know the character of God and act on the hope he offers to us.
When I didn’t know much about God, reading scripture was like having him sitting across from him and hearing him tell his side of the story. Prayer became a constant conversation–both speaking and listening–to God. Time with other believers encouraged, challenged, and brought me out of my shell. This is my foundation. As a result, I can’t sit idly by and put on blinders to the suffering of others. My hands in the dirt of humanity. Be all in because God was all in for us. Get your hands dirty.
Turning Your Page
Think of souls as gardens. The apostle Paul described ministry in this way: Some plant, some water, but it is God who causes them to grow (1 Corinthians 3:16). Use the skills you have to be present in the life of someone wrestling with despair. Love is something we all have.
- Love is not based on feelings. It is a practice, it is a disciplined pattern. Start small. How has someone loved you well? Identify the elements of how they spoke life into you.
- Identify a few people around you who need encouragement.
- How can you give opportunities to listen and provide tangible hope? Try to be consistent.
- Let me know your story in the comments. How can I fight dirty for you!?
Creater, you’ve had your hands in my humanity from the beginning. Give me a heart of flesh that I can love my family and neighbor more deeply. Amen