If you’ve been around this site for a while now, you now that I have recently started a series called “Voices in the Static.” It’s a series that’s all about learning how to listen to voices that are often drowned out in our society. It’s not about racing in with answers; and it’s not about debate. It’s about figuring out how to quiet oneself long enough to let the story of another human being rise to the surface.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit with a man who has been verbally, emotionally and spiritually abused. And while his present circumstances are such that he is no longer subject to his abuser, he is not yet free to discuss the nature of what happened to him. So today, there is no interview, no exchange of ideas, no dialog for you to sit in on. But what I can share with you are these thoughts that I wrote to him in the aftermath of our time together. And maybe, just maybe, through my faltering words, you will hear the faintest echo of his voice. And in so hearing, maybe, just maybe, you will choose to stand up for justice on behalf of those that cannot.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I keep trying to start this email, and my words just fail me … I’ve been up all night, and I haven’t stopped thinking about everything we’ve discussed. Mostly, I keep thinking about you and your story. I have no words to express my sorrow. All I can say is that I have worked very closely with children who were in very dark places; and as I sat there, listening to you talk about your nightmares and about your self-confidence that was shattered … you brought me to tears in the same way that those kids used to bring me to tears. I don’t know if you saw it in my eyes as we sat there talking, but the tears were there. And even as I write this to you, the tears are still there, only now they are flowing freely.
I know that you already know this, but we serve a God who grieves. And to me, that matters. It’s one of the reasons I worship Him. It’s one of the things that I adore about Him. He is not stoic, He is not dispassionate … He bleeds just as you and I bleed. And He cries just as you I have cried. And so, as I write this, I find myself thinking about your story and the stories of others who have suffered like you; and I find myself praying: “Lord, comfort them now, even as they continue to heal. Remind them that they are made in your image, and that as such, they have immeasurable worth, regardless of what they have been told, regardless of how they have been manipulated.”
Just recently, you told me that no matter what comes of our discussions, something was gained because people had gathered to talk about things that really matter. I’m here this morning to tell you that something else was gained. You gained a friend. While you already had my trust and my admiration, you gained my heart as well – my heart and my willful, freely-chosen decision to be your friend. And so, if there is ever anything that I can do to serve you, I want you to know that I am here as your brother in Christ.”