Our little girls walked up to the stage to sing at the women’s prison. Before they even began singing their first song, a number of the ladies in the audience started crying. I saw that our five-year-old daughter, Kyra, was noticing this, and before long, she turned around to me and said, “Mommy, I keep getting teary-eyes! I can’t even stop them!”
Since I was afraid this would keep her from being able to sing, I told her to just not look at the women who were crying. Later on, as I thought about this, I realized that this may not have been the best advice to give her. I’ve also realized that many of us have this same mentality in other situations in life. We go into a “self protection mode”. We try to just look the other way and not see or acknowledge the pain so we can be strong. We don’t like to hurt. Not even for others. So we choose to look the other way.
It’s so easy for us to only be thinking about our own little world. Our own needs, comfort, financial condition, relationships and fun opportunities are our primary focus. After these are all taken care of, there’s hardly any time left for anything else. After all, we should be taking care of our family first. Right? Absolutely. But I believe there’s a vast difference between “making family a priority” and closing our eyes to the needs around us.
We often shy away from seeing the intense pain and unmet needs of those around us because we, truthfully, don’t care enough to make a difference. Burying our “head in the sand,” we choose to simply not look at those who are crying out for answers and hope in their world. They may be searching for truth, but since we’ve already found the truth for ourselves, we are content. So many hurting individuals are seeking the real, lasting love and redemption of Jesus, yet, we selfishly keep this priceless treasure to ourselves. We’ve become experts at averting our eyes and “minding our own business” when there are silent screams for help all around us.
May God help us to have the same sensitivity as a five-year-old, to where we simply can’t stop the empathy that flows through us from the very heart of God.
Planned Parenthood has recently given us a glimpse of how wicked and calloused someone can get. But let’s remember that the horrific abortions and unthinkable selling of baby organs began by individuals choosing to ignore the unimagineable pain of another human being. I simply cannot fathom the mercy and goodness of God as to why He doesn’t bring immediate judgement to a person who’s become so vile and abominable!
However, our family has determined to obey the call of God on our lives and to minister to those who have committed horrendous crimes. They are some of the ones who are hurting the most and, some of which, are looking for answers to turn their lives around. Yes, many of them are still hardened, bond in sin, and are only sorry they’ve been caught. However, there are many others who are truly repentant and seeking to live a godly life.
As I think of the scenes we saw in the Florida prisons, one particular evening comes to my mind. My husband preached a bold and convicting message about surrender to God and what the high cost is of following Him. During the invitation time, we were surprised as the altar filled with women making the first time decision to turn away from their sins and commit their lives to God.
For safety reasons, the officers wanted me to be on the stage with our little girls during the altar response time. From this vantage point, I was able to observe what was going on as the women were praying. Several of these women had looked hardened and had evil-looking tattoos on them. As Duane led the group in a sinner’s prayer, I began praying for true and lasting repentance in their lives. The prayer time progressed, and I noticed tears beginning to stream down their faces and several of them shook with sobs. As the prayer concluded, a number of them lifted their hands up to heaven as an act of surrender to God. It was truly beautiful to see those crying out for help, finding hope and joy in Jesus.
While at the Florida prisons, we were able to lead many dear men and women in the sinner’s prayer of repentance and surrender to our Almighty God and we are still rejoicing at the work of the Holy Spirit. The joy we’ve experienced these last few weeks have been a huge blessing!
As we see that our world is getting darker, let’s look for opportunities to let our lights shine brighter. Remember, it always takes courage to care for others. When we allow those who are hurting to see that we hurt for them, it will allow them to catch a glimpse of the matchless love of Jesus. He always reached out to those who were sick, diseased, demon possessed—the outcasts of His day—because He knew that’s where the deepest hurts were.
Today, we are surrounded by drug addicts, suicidal people, bereaved individuals, alcoholics, broken and hurting families, and homeless people. Are we reaching out to them as Jesus would do? Let’s choose to focus on the hurts of others rather than on our own happiness. There are blessings that flow to us when we choose to get out of our comfort zones to identify and hurt with others. When we choose to hurt, we choose to be like Jesus!
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)