I was looking at some reports the other day on child poverty in Scotland and came across this picture. Immediately, I recognised myself. No, its not actually me, but all at once a whole flash flood of my childhood came rushing back at me.
You know, it was only as I grew up I realised how much of my childhood was not only less than normal, but harmful. There are some scars that are slow to heal even with the most Gentle Father administering the ointment. And you know what? I don’t think my mum knows what she has done because she herself is still so damaged by the life and lifestyle she has had.
I’ve gone through a whole period of years of forgiving my mum, and I truly have. Its probably why I can love her now where before I never could. Every time I speak to her on the phone all I hear is her pain. She’s still living the hell that I’ve been rescued from. And what’s more, without repentance, faith and trust in Jesus, her hell will continue in ways unthinkable.
I come back to my question of a few weeks ago. Who is reaching the likes of my mum? How many of our corps could welcome her with open arms, just as she is and believe in the gospel enough to believe she can change by the grace of God? What will we do (or not do) to reach a person like my mother.
There were, sadly, Salvationists in my early life who pronounced their benediction on my salvation before it even began. To some, I was too troubled, too far gone, a risk, a threat. I thank God, however, for the Jesus-hearted folks who invested their time, love and heart in the likes of me.
The thing that troubles me with some evangelism today is again from the church growth school which says that a church should go for the people they are most like. The place where that falls down is that God has done a good job on generations of us in the church and we’re often middle class, educated and comfortably well off. Who is there then to reach the poor?
Will the real Salvation Army please stand up.