I don’t know who they are, but I know where they are. Everywhere. Hurting people are everywhere. They are around the globe, across the country, at my church, in my neighborhood, and even in my own house.
I don’t know why they’re hurting. Maybe they don’t have a home. Maybe their hearts are broken. Maybe they have seen, experienced, or even done unspeakable things. Maybe they’re overwhelmed by grief. Maybe they’re being abused. Maybe they are abusers. Maybe they’re addicted to drugs, pornography, or alcohol. Maybe they’re addicted to destructive relationships. Maybe they want to die. Maybe they want others to die. Maybe they’ve never known love, peace, and safety. Maybe they’re consumed with worry. Maybe they’re afraid they’ll never be good enough or smart enough or fast enough or strong enough or simply enough. I don’t know, God, but I know You do.
And I know You love them.
I also know they may not know You love them. They may believe they have been too bad or evil. They may believe they’ve broken too many laws and moral codes. They may believe You don’t love them because they’ve had abortions or are homosexual or are not Christian. They may believe they aren’t worthy of Your love.
And for them, God, all of them, I’m asking that You let them know You love them. Let them feel Your love in the smile of a passerby, in the beauty of a sunset, in the warmth of a blanket. Let them feel your love in a reprieve from their pain, in a moment of clarity, in shared laughter, in a hot meal.
And even more than that, God, I’m asking that they feel Your love through the lives of those who profess to believe in You. Help Your followers to live like Jesus, who loved and cared and shared with abandon and without judgment. Use us to spread Your love in practical ways to those who need it, which is ultimately all of us.
We’re all in this hurting humanity boat together, but some of us have forgotten that. Please forgive us, God, for our forgetting, and our intentional blindness to the needs that surround us, and for closing our ears to cries for mercy, and turning our hearts away from those who need our love in an effort to protect ourselves from becoming hurt, as if hurting is a disease spread by contact.
But love, Your kind of love, God, can and should spread like a disease.
Please spread Your love widely, God. Heal the hurting. Save the lost. Change Your people. Revolutionize the world by Your love.
I ask for these blessings in Jesus’ name. Amen.