Despite how well I seem to be here on social media world, I really am just as crummy a person as anyone else. Tonight’s experience with my friend Marissa reminded me of such things and made me want to write those thoughts down.
I am Marissa.
Marissa is homeless. She is overweight, rude, judgemental, crass, and quite racist. She doesn’t have personal awareness. She has a foul mouth. She outwardly accuses everyone of picking on her and looking to harm her - and the list could go on about the outward flaws this girl has.
Tonight, one of our volunteers ran into Marissa while in route to meet us. Marissa saw her and asked if I would be there tonight. After confirmation of this, I invited Marissa to walk along with us while we looked for other people to help. Within 5 minutes of talking with Marissa, she had yelled at one of my co-workers, complaining that they were the reason she was arrested, she yelled at me for a question I asked, and she referred to people of different races than herself (white) in quite unpleasant ways.
If you are looking for someone who has flaws, sins, or really just is a mess, Marissa fits the bill.
That’s what we do. That’s what I do. I know I have things I equally am bad at (and probably worse), but I lower my things on the “sin meter”, because I’m not as bad as Marissa, so I’m ok.
But really, I am Marissa.
Everyone has flaws. Everyone. Some people’s flaws are just easier to hide than others.
I’m not addicted to heroin. I’m not an alcoholic. I don’t steal. There’s nothing that I do to negatively effect my outward appearance, thus, nothing blatantly points to those negative characteristics. But they are there.
I’m a hypocrite. I’m a glutton. I really struggle with lust. I put LOTS of things above my relationship with God. I coast on the fact that I work in ministry day in and day out. I use it as an excuse to not read my Bible or go to church. I say mean things to my wife when we fight. Sometimes I put people’s satisfaction of me over doing the right thing in that situation.
The list could really go on and on. I am Marissa.
But, just like there is hope for Marissa, there is hope for me.
All night long, Marissa was cared for, listened to, encourage, and loved. She spent the entire night’s outreach walking alongside one of our street teams. They did EVERYTHING they could to make sure she knew she was welcomed anytime. They even took her out for dinner!
They showed compassion and patience to someone who has earned neither. At the end of the night when I saw her again, she was glowing! She couldn’t stop talking about everything they had done. Get this, she shared the food she had been given (A monster drink and Nutter Bars) with our team - even giving her only monster drink to one of our African American volunteers - and that’s coming from someone who “doesn’t like black people”.
I earn nothing by way of my failures and sins, but God loves me anyway? He listens when I complain, am rude, don't give Him credit, am prideful, and a jerk? That makes no sense, But He does.
Marissa earned nothing by way of her rudeness, but we too, love her anyway.
In the same way, I believe we are being like Jesus when we do such things.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”