Fresh Start Ministries’ primary focus is to help those who are incarnated in jail as well as to ReEnter community life. We feel this is a great time to share our new series of testimonials from actual people making their own way back into society.
The testimonies heard throughout the programs offered by Fresh Start Ministries, are stories of transformation, that of which could only happened through the grace of God.
Part 1 of 4
Walk a mile in my shoes … wow. Let’s unpack that for a minute. How does someone truly do this? Like for real … I untie my shoes and take them off; then, I lace up yours on my own feet. I do this with no alterations; with no expectations; with no substitutions. Your shoes literally on my feet – clean, smelly, new, used, outdated, in style, sanitized, or bacteria-ridden. I change nothing.
How powerful would this truly be if we did just that instead of going shoe shopping before taking someone’s side for a mile? How many of us would want to head to Reebok or Nike to buy the cutest, newest, most-comfortable and correct size of shoe for this undertaking? I bet most of us would raise our hands, including me, if we were being honest with ourselves.
Yet, let’s dig into this a bit. If we did lace up the shoes we decided on and jogged with you a mile, is that really walking a mile in your shoes? Absolutely not. Yet, we tend to do this and convince ourselves that we are in the trenches with those that are suffering. We think we are feeling the pain, shouldering the load, getting the “real” perspective of what a mile in someone’s shoes is.
Really … who are we kidding? Sadly, at best, only ourselves. Maybe a few bystanders watching the race. Probably those looking on judging our race. Speaking from experience, I can honestly tell you the person you are “walking a mile” with is in no way fooled. On the other hand, they are probably skeptical, confused, on guard, maybe amused at times … definitely not fooled. Most of all, they are not truly letting you in to walk a real mile with them. Not because they don’t want you to. No, it’s because you don’t really want to at their low, depressed, pained, ugly, and messy level.
Why is this? Do we view those suffering and in need of help as different, unusual, ungodly, out of God’s will, dirty, reaping what they sowed, messed up in the head, or prodigal? Are these labels we afix to those different than us true identities of these unfortunate individuals; or, is it to put distance between us and them? Distance equals safety, right? Pushing away from or excluding others keeps the herd safe, right?
Could it be challenged as a false sense of security? I think it absolutely could be this kind of mirage. Why are we okay with this? Could it be that different and challenging might get messy? Might create change in us? Might tear down our concrete walls and reveal our true identities? Might shine light on our hidden “sins” and “addictions”? That it might show just how similar we are to those suffering in our lives?
Whatever the case may be, can I challenge you to pause for a moment and reconsider. Reconsider our approach or non-approach to helping others. Truly put on the shoes of those in need and BE THEM for a mile. Experience the pain. Experience the mountains. Experience the valleys. Experience the demons that they combat every step of that mile. When you are done, keep that mile in perspective.
Part 2 coming tomorrow……..