I don’t really know you

Our mission trip to help establish a student ministry at Arizona State University has come to an end. I think the thing that struck me most about it is working with other people. Often we want to change others, motivate them, bring them into a closer understanding of God, correct their errors. But I can’t help but see how little I grasp about others. It’s hard to see beneath the surface.

I met a number of people in different positions. Some finding themselves at a turning point in their lives, having to make decisions to follow God or continue only knowing of him. Others who want to serve him, but in a way contrary to his will seemingly so they can validate their own choices. The common factor with each person was how little I know about them nor what it is that is driving them.

Nor could I see how God was working on their hearts. This should come as no surprise. I’ve made similar discoveries before. I’ve seen that cheerful, outgoing people may not be driven by their confidence, but their insecurity. The significance comes in seeing how to deal with people. Even seeing their actions we cannot define the people by them. Their intents may be far different from what their actions seem to indicate, and we should not demonize them, even if their actions are directed by the demons that plague them.

Nor should we be the ones to work on them, molding them into who they could be. Rather than trying to think of the right thing to say, we perhaps should be searching for the right questions, willing to listen long enough for them to vocalize what they already know about themselves. Not even so that we can have access to these things, but so they are confronted with them, allowing the Spirit to show them how to address them.


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