BY KEVIN KING
“Yeah, but you don’t know who I was!”
A man spoke these words immediately after I assured him that I was aware of his name and who he is.
He stood drunk in the middle of the day in my front yard with two of his sons and explained to me that he had noticed for years the role that I’ve played in the lives of young men in the community. This 40+ year-old man is determined not to have the dreams of his sons deferred due to a lack of guidance and bad decisions. His boys stood on each side of him as he placed his hands on their backs and gently pushed them in my direction offering them to me.
I was taken back and I said, “Wait a minute, man, these are your children!” His request had nothing to do with a parental transfer but a cry for help as he admitted to being an alcoholic who literally got away with murder at a young age. He said he has made a host of other bad decisions that led to a life that he didn’t want for his sons. He was once an athlete at a local high school with a promising future. He proudly told story after story after story of how many accolades he had received for sports when he was a teenager. After his short lived local fame, then followed children being born while still in school and other decisions that took him out of position to pursue his dreams.
I see others walking up and down the streets of our neighborhood who once had dreams. Everyone has an individual story and some had it a lot tougher than others, but at some point in their lives they personally defined the meaning of success and hoped for it one day. Unachieved goals, lack of direction, and tragedies for some weighed so heavy to the point that poverty, complacency, depression, brokenness, apathy, addictions, and hopelessness became reality.
The truth about all of those who have experienced this, and everyone else in the world, is the fact that God created us all in His image and likeness. We are all special; God loves us all; we all are worth more than what an individual can put a price on; Jesus esteems us all.
We all have dignity.
What if we all understood the essence of being made in the image of God and, through the supernatural power of the Holy Ghost, we actually lived this reality out together as a church and community? How many dreams do you think would not have been deferred and unfulfilled? How would we reflect the image of God even in the middle of our sin and mess? I believe The Father would flip the whole world upside down as He works through us to display His glory to the Earth. I pray for the man mentioned in the opening paragraph and others who dwell in the past by reminding others who they used to be. I pray that they would realize their value and live out their purpose right now while they still have breath in their lungs. As one old man answered me when I asked how he was doing: “I’m still on top of the ground… I could be underneath the ground”.