student in class

The Truth Beneath

This week, we have been hosting Mentors’ Care luncheons for a number of area high schools. Mentors’ Care matches adults one-on-one with students who are at risk of not graduating from high school. Many of the area coordinators and mentors are members of our church family who are investing at least one hour of time in a student each week, encouraging them, caring for them, and following a carefully crafted curriculum aimed at helping students. Each spring these students and mentors come together for a final luncheon to celebrate. This week we have hosted several of these luncheons in the Student Center on our campus.

This year’s keynote speaker called students to recognize that we all have invisible circumstances and hurts that tend to set us up for failure if we do not make choices to face them. As I was listening, I was looking around at those students and mentors, at the campus coordinators, board members, and volunteers. From my position, I knew so many of them, and I realized that every single one had this in common: they had a past of mistakes and hurts, they each had a decision to make about whether they would allow those to define them, and that each was precious to God. Most were also quite gifted at protecting that truth beneath a veneer that says, “I’m okay.”

Jesus astounded people when He welcomed and loved people whose past was not completely invisible. His demonstration of mercy grew more overwhelming as the intensity of their honesty and need grew. In fact, in one of my favorite parables, a Pharisee and a tax collector are both standing at the Temple and praying. The Pharisee denies his need, but the tax collector blurts out his need. So, since the Pharisee confessed no need, he received no mercy. He hadn’t asked for any and, frankly, thought he needed none. But the tax collector did nothing but confess his need and asked for mercy. Jesus said the tax collector got it!

What’s the point? Jesus didn’t come for people who had it together and claimed to be perfectly fine. Those people weren’t ready, to be honest, ask for mercy, or to seek Jesus’ help. In contrast, Jesus bowled over those who thought they had no reason to deserve it but were genuinely desperate for it. They received mercy heaped on mercy.

I decided a long time ago that I wanted to be a mercy-seeker, even if I had to admit my flaws and needs. And it’s been amazing to me how quickly I find mercy from the Lord and other people because I’m willing to ASK for it.

Will you face the truth beneath the facade and come running to Jesus for His mercy? He’s ready and eager. In fact, that’s why He came!

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