“Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
It clanked securely in my clipboard as I frantically ran from one point of the course to
the next cheering on my runners. In the furry of high-fives and sweaty finish-line hugs, I didn’t realize it had slipped through a crack.
“I’m so sorry,” I told a teary-eyed teenage girl who had just lost her grandmother’s ring.
There had been rumors circulating about what this particular girl was like, what she was saying about me, and the suspected trouble she was causing away from my view. But that day, I felt nothing but compassion for this young woman trying to find herself and her way in the world before it was all about to change again. I did the best I could to replace what was lost, and continued to rally around her in love and support as long as she was under my watch.
So often we forget that kids are kids and teens are teens. Today’s verse reminds us to guard what we allow into our hearts. We let people right in to hearts to wreak havoc. But make no mistake about it, we let them. We allow it. And what flows from that allowance is a reaction that we will no doubt regret and want to take back.
Let’s not allow hearsay, or even know-say, into our hearts. When we resist the urge to buy into negativity, the outflow of our hearts has great potential to soften its source. If only for a moment.
People may think we’re naive. They may not understand. And that’s a good sign. It’s pretty awkward to meet meanness with compassion, love, and kindness. But for a young person trying to stand up on their feet, it can be life-changing. They need to know they matter. They need to know that they have permission not to be perfect. And they need to know that we love them for who they are right now. Not for who they will be or for what they’ve achieved so far. But the work in progress.
That’s what Christ did for us. He took us up on that cross with Him. Every one of us and our messes, and choose to die so that we didn’t have to be known and remembered by our mess. Instead, we are loved, called, chosen, and worthy people who are cursed by sin …but who don’t have to die because of it. Grace is for all. Guard it, and extend it.
Father, Praise You for young people. Thank You for the opportunities that we get to love on them and encourage them. Forgive us for missing out on loving people in Your name. Bless our hearts to look outward in opportunity to love, and never inward in offense. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace!
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