Posted by: Jessica Rood | February 12, 2010

February Newsletter

February Newsletter

What is Love? Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “strong affection; warm attachment; a beloved person; unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for others”.  I so often think of love as a strong affection and not much more.  I know the Bible teaches us to love our enemies but how do I do that?  How do I love the men in the shelter who hit on me day in and day out?  How do I love the woman who distracted a resident and in turn he ends up leaving the program returning to his old life style?

I have been reading The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. Although I do not agree with everything in his book, his writings have challenged me to want to love my enemies.  While in the Hope Program we have a mission question which is “In this moment, how can I best love both God and people”? I so often forget the mission question and just love myself. 

There are so many men in the shelter who have attitudes.  My first instinct in dealing with them is to have an attitude back.  That is not showing them love.  That is treating them like everyone else does.  I need to show them kindness but in a way that directs them to Christ in discipline.

On Thursday at the shelter, with some staff members ill and others off, Emily, Caleb, and I were in the day shelter by ourselves.  It was just a day of craziness.  One guest wanted to get a bag out of the closet but could not do so because her name was not on the tag tapped to the bag.  She was angry because she was getting ready to leave on a Grey Hound.  I felt bad for her and went up to talk to my boss since all other staff was out.  He stated and I agreed that we could not allow her to take out the bag because we are protecting the person whose name is on the bag. The man’s whose name was on the bag would not come down and get it out for her. She did not want to leave because it had everything she owned in there.  Could you imagine fitting everything you own in just two duffle bags?  I know I would want the bags protected because they would have the most valuable things I own in them. She came back on Friday and told me that the owner of the bag was coming to get his bag for her.  I felt much better, but still felt sorry that her trip was delayed a day. 

Later that morning I went upstairs for a moment. As I looked out the window I saw a guest drinking in front of the shelter.  When I asked my boss to confront him, the guest had already left the situation and would not confess to it.  I hated to see this because I have recently developed a relationship with him. Through playing several games of cards, we have developed a friendship. I felt hurt and confused on what to do.  Even on Friday when he was confronted, he did not own up to drinking yet again.  I am not sure how to feel about it.  I feel betrayed and second guess myself, but I know what I saw.  How do I not let this affect our developing friendship? How do I show someone love when they lied right in front of my face? Should I confront him or let things go?

I returned back down stairs. At that time I came across Emily who told me of a situation with the laundry services.  We have laundry facilities, but you need to make an appointment to use them.  She was telling me that someone was in the washer that didn’t make an appointment.  I asked if she knew who.  She did not.  I asked around and figured out who it was.  While he was taking out his laundry I confronted him and he stated that it was his friend’s laundry.  I told him he needed to take the clothes out of the washer.  He replied, “You’re becoming like the rest of them.” What he meant by this comment was that I was all about the rules and just causing angst.  There is a reason for rules.  If we allowed everyone to do their laundry whenever they wanted, fights would break out. Some of our homeless guests tend to not respect authority.  How do I show them love, but still discipline them?  How do I best love this man who always tries to bend the rules and cause problems?

I do not know the answer to any of these questions.  How do I love like Christ loves?  More often than not, I allow my human flesh to get in the way.  I do not want to let things go.  I do not want to love them.  Choosing to write them off and forgetting about them is much easier then showing love and compassion. 

I am here to love these people.  I fail at it daily, but when God reveals His love for his people through me it is an amazing thing.  There are such great friendships developing.  People’s lives all around me are changing because of the Love of Christ that is being shown to them through my teammates and myself.  I am excited to see the Love of Christ changing lives but I daily have to remind myself to love others.  This is not something you master once, but it is something that you continually work on.  You will make mistakes; you will get hurt but just keep on loving.  God never gives up on us.  He loves us so much that when we hurt him, he turns the other cheek.  I so glad that He never gives up because if He had, I would not be where I am today. 

 Please continue to support me in love.  Love can change the world.

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