Using ALL the Tools
'The eyes are the window of the soul'. I know you've heard these words before. These are some of the truest words I've ever heard. We, as messengers of God, need to be able to 'see' things that others might miss.
When you're talking with someone, are you really paying attention? I know you probably follow closely the words that are being spoken aloud, but are you also hearing the words that aren't being said? Are you 'hearing' with the discernment that you've been given? Is the smile on the other person's lips reaching all the way to their eyes? How are they speaking to you? Is it out of true expression, or are they covering up something, hiding behind the mask? I believe we have to use all the tools at our disposal to reach out to other people, and I believe that God has provided us with a special insight that we must tune into at times to dig beneath the surface.
I will use my brother Eddie as an example here, and I know he won't mind. He makes no secret of the fact that he is addicted to crack cocaine. It's something, unfortunately, that we talk about a lot. Today, I went to visit him. He lives in 'cocaine central'. NO ONE willingly goes to this area, unless they are a drug dealer out to make a sale or collect a debt, or a user out to find a freebie. Or, sadly, too poor and beaten down to have a choice in the matter of where you live. That's where 'they' tell you to go so you go. Even the police avoid the area whenever possible. In fact, as I write, our local police are embroiled in a mess because a man died there a few months ago while in their custody, and no one can explain why. This area has a bad reputation, yet I don't believe that all the residents are responsible for it. There are godly people everywhere, I think. Possibly, I should be concerned for my own safety a bit more when I go over there but I'm not because I don't go alone. God goes with me so I really am not afraid. Eddie had a need that I was able to fulfill today so I went. I didn't think it through first. I heard the call and answered it.
Eddie, when he lived just two doors down from me, used to avoid me when he was doing his drugs because, and neither one of us knows how, I could always tell. It had something to do with his eyes, though I can't really explain it. And I would fuss at him over it. I would make him feel ashamed over letting me down by doing it (though NEVER on purpose. He just knew that I knew, and he would be ashamed of himself). So he tried to hide it from me. It never worked and eventually he just gave up. I just always 'know' what he's been up to. I think he was doing it today when I got there. This is one thing I know little about except that it grabs you and doesn't want to let go. I'm not sure what it smells like, though I think I detected the odor today. Anyway, instead of just pretending not to see or smell what I do, I ask him about it. We talk about it. I love my brother and want desperately for him to stop, but I can't make him. I can only share what I know with him, and offer advice here and there, and listen.
Don't hide out somewhere with your Bible. Take it 'out there' with you. Speak freely of the things you know, but don't avoid certain people and situations. If you are going to be used by God, you have to be willing to get down in the trenches to work sometimes. You don't have to be a party to the lifestyle but you need to know of the lifestyle if you're going to try to help someone who is in it. Look closely at the people, watch their eyes and their mannerisms, and really listen to the way they are speaking. God wants to touch these people and He will be needing you sometimes to do it. You have 'seen the light' and accepted it, but you are still no more important to Our Lord than those who have not. He loves them too. It is urgent that we are careful to not close any doors in reaching them.
If you're wondering about someone, it's in the eyes.
Look at them! And pay attention to what God is saying to you while you're doing it! If something doesn't seem 'right', it probably isn't!
'Hear' and 'see' with all the resources that are available to you and stop just scratching at the surface.
Become a 'tool' that God can use!
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Beth, my prayers are with you as you minister to your brother, and I pray for him. Your love for your brother is to be commended.
Beth, thank you for this Holy Spirit directed and written article! It is right on time and a DIRECT confirmation to a situation I am dealing with, even today! We must be willing to get down in the trenches - you are so right! If we simply assume and walk on past, or we are afraid of getting dirty or soiling our reputation if we are seen with a certain class, then God help us! You also pointed out that we must know what we are dealing with! If you were delivered 20 years ago from drugs, you do have experience, but you still must stay abreast of the latest craze! I deal with a lot of young people who are addicted, and because I read the latest information, I am a step ahead of them when they try to pull the wool over my eyes! Not boasting in the least - it is very painful to see these children (and many adults) twisted by addiction! It is only the grace of God that gives me strength and wisdom to go on - as a new person knocks on my door! I said all that to say this, your article is timely! I needed the reminder today! Thank you! God bless, Jounda
P.S. I will be praying for your brother! I've been down this road with my daughter and I am a witness to God's delivering power! There is hope!!!