Series: Always Relevant: God Is
Hebrews 10:25 MSG
Don’t just deplatform someone…give them a chance...encourage them. Love them and help them out, pray for them, God doesn’t write them off so ask God how to help them. After all, God doesn’t deplatform us when we mess up.
Hebrews 10:25 tells us, “So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”
My time spent as editor of a county newspaper turned out to be a remarkably invaluable experience. I learned how to write quickly. I learned what to do when the film from the camera doesn’t develop correctly…no digital wasn’t in play yet. So you punt. Grab the camera, pick a story and take new pictures.
Probably the greatest lesson I learned is about people.
Every one in the office was helpful and forgiving. I learned a ton from them and I don’t know what I would have done without them.
The publisher of the newspaper inherited several newspapers from his family. He was not clear about instructions. He was not helpful. At the time I thought he was just zoned out and if someone would have offered him a fair market price he would have sold it in a minute.
He seldom came into the office because he was elderly and he had trouble walking.
He would tell me to write stories for the front page that didn’t seem to make sense. I did follow through with his instructions but sometimes it wasn’t easy because I was having to fill in the blanks. I wasn’t the only one who struggled with his instructions. When he handed me the assignment to write the first two pages I wondered how on earth he knew I could write. To this day I don’t know how he found out I could write. At that time I had finished two years of college, but I’m not sure he knew that.
Most of the time I was baffled about what to do and how to do it. I prayed a lot and asked God to show me the way. Somehow, by the grace of God we had a newspaper to publish every week.
I remember being told once to go to the courthouse and interview the county commissioners. The town was the county seat and the courthouse was across the street from the newspaper office.
I asked several people different questions about the county and the commissioners and I prepared a list of questions when I met with them.
After the convoluted interview I had no idea how to make sense of their answers. I remember that I sat down and said to God, “I got nothin’. I have no idea how to make this strange interview into a story.” It took some time, but I did eventually write a story that made sense.
As I gained more experience I learned how to manage the requests I got from the publisher. I was the only writer he had for current news. Eventually I went from being staff writer to being Editor. When he named me editor, he stepped back and gave me the reigns.
In time I came to realize he had his own story. I learned he never wanted to own the newspaper. Everyone knew his older brother had been groomed to take over the newspapers the family owned. Then World War II came and his brother went off to war. The publisher I knew was too young to join up, so he stayed at home.
His brother never came home. He was killed in action,
There were no other children, so he was forced to take over the family business that he knew nothing about (and he hated it). He was forced to live a life he never wanted. He told me that his father told him he knew he would never be able to fill his brothers shoes but he was the only one left so he had to take over the business.
As long as his father was alive I understood he refused to sell the business.
One day I learned he knew he had failed to live up to his father’s expectations. He believed his whole life was a failure.
He felt like he should have been the one who died. I don’t know if his father told him that or if he made him feel that way, but I know he felt like he failed to live up to his father’s expectations.
The day we spoke about his life story I went home and wept. I knew I had known him but I had not KNOWN him. In my own way I deplatformed him.
I learned a hard lesson that day.
Do not ever judge a book by its cover.
Looking back over thirty years later I don’t think I have approached anyone since without wondering about their life story.
I learned that everyone has a story that has played a part in making them who they are today.
I learned that not everyone had parents who encouraged them to be who God made them to be.
I learned that there are people who do the best they have with what they are given.
That’s exactly what this man was doing. Even though he felt like he could not and did not fill his older brother’s shoes, he had tried.
After I heard his life story I was grateful that my parents had always allowed me to be me.
I decided to give love and to seek to understand others when we meet because we often do not know their story.
I also resolved to absolutely encourage my own children to find their way, walk the path they choose, and pray for them on that path.
Spiritual Practice: Give Love
Give love to the difficult people in your life. Remember they have a story to tell.
In God, Deborah