Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Accepting Help, and The Hands That Offer It

Early today I visited the Community Corrections office
to pick-up my “approved” travel request form.

The Parole Officer was surprised,
she has never talked with me in person.
Because my monitoring has been ‘downgraded’ three times,
I am seen as a ‘low-risk’ offender,
and tomorrow I get to leave the state and visit family.
However I didn’t get here on my own.
I had a team of supporters to help!
Such as a mentor to visit me both inside prison and after.
Loving family to write me and send pictures often.
A church family that prayed for me.
And friends whose sole wish was to help after my release.
But it does’t stop there;
Afterwards, I connected in multiple support groups.
Some are men’s bible study groups.
Others for addictions, like drugs and alcohol.

Here is the first point:
I seek help & support from others,
as long as people are still willing to offer it.

As a result my growth and learning continue,
and now can I give back to my community.
Normally I do this in small ways.
Yet I continue to be amazed when a person says
how grateful they are that I helped them.
You see, I started my own business,
and now I coach men struggling through major life issues.
Sometimes I mentor young men for free through church,
and it is wonderful to see their lives changing for the better!

Now the second point:
I haven’t come this far by blaming others,
nor by quitting, laying down, and giving up.

Later in the morning I went to donate our recycled bottles & cans
to a homeless man I often see at the library and Starbucks.
My wife and I decided last year to donate
whenever our recycling bin is full
and we find some joy in thinking it could help someone else.
But today was different.

When I offered the bottles & cans to this gentleman,
he turned me down
and wouldn’t take my offer.
Maybe he was embarrassed,
or thought I was giving him my ‘trash’,
but either way,
he denied a helping hand when it was offered.

I was stunned when it happened.
And I know I cannot force help onto someone,
nor can any of us.
But then I wondered;
how many deny the gift God offers them
through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ?

Jesus often compared sin to a monetary debt,
a sum too large to ever be re-paid.
In a manner, I can see this homeless man
and criminal offenders the same way;
Until we seek help from outside ourselves,
we will continue to carry the burden on our own.

Jesus never meant for us to do this.
He wants us to live with one another,
forgiving and seeking forgiveness.
Helping others, and receiving help from them.
Learning about His love, and accepting it.

When I struggled to find work on my own,
a friend offered to help me start my own business,
and next year I hope to be wildly successful!
But I had to step out of my comfort zone
to accept help in an area I need it.

The next time we may recycle the bottles ourselves
and instead give the refund money for donation to an organization.

I won’t stop trying to help others,
nor will I deny it when offered.

God’s wisdom is vindicated by those who respond to it and receive blessing.

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