I have been unwilling to look with a compassionate heart at the pain of my brothers and sisters. I have convinced myself that it is "not my business" when someone is harassed, abused, mistreated, or demeaned in my home, church, community, job, school, et al. I have balanced my own sense of safety with the wounding of others just like the pharisees, the crowd and Pilot crucifying Your Son.
Lord have mercy.
I have been unaware of the marginalizing behaviors around me and so have been guilty of them myself.
I have assumed that all people have the same resources I have to make changes in their lives--the same backing of family, access to education, supportive friends of faith and conscience, the earning capacity, the health, the knowledge, that all too uncommon "sense" to anticipate consequences and the ability to control impulses, the expectation of fairness in job, legal system, community, school.
Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear.
Lord, I try to see you in each face, but my own brokenness too often leaves me offering "remedies" from my own limited experience that frequently cause more pain because they are rightly perceived as arrogant and lacking understanding.
Lord, break my heart that I might humbly offer to travel along side, and listen, listen, listen to the suffering (only making suggestions from my experience, hope and faith and only as God calls) that together we might be effective vessels pouring God's healing over families and communities.
Stir churches to compassionate and wise action. Let church members and leaders be tender to those in their pews that are suffering but do not feel safe even asking for prayers. Pour out healing and courage to those whose experiences can inform ministry. Let those with wisdom be filled with Your Spirit that their faith, hope and experience might inform how churches respond to the need for legal reforms and new ways to live justly.
Inspire all employers (private, public, governmental or social service) to fearlessly offer education and mentoring to any persons who want to be all you created them to be without fear for what "I" might "lose".
Open doors for healing of all who are feeling bound in dangerous situations, whether in families or jobs or communities. Wrap them in Your Love that, feeling Your hope and beginning to see themselves as You see them -- precious, with purpose and a future -- they grow in courage to seek carefully the resources You provide, the doors that You are opening for them.
Bless those whose employment and volunteer work seek to alleviate suffering and give them courage and compassion to be wise and speak wisdom and justice when organizational or individual actions are unwise or even cruel, whether by design or ignorance.
Lord give me Your Words, so my own do not cause unnecessary pain.
Everywhere I look, as my vision improves, I see people who desperately need to understand their own value, the value You place upon them, the worth Christ has proclaimed in his death.
How wounding is worldly valuation, where we are judged by "success", wealth, education, friends, and countless other resources that are an accident of birth as much as personal endeavor!
AlI this is painful, Lord, and leaves me wanting to hide where my feelings are less disturbed, my awareness of the exceptional resources I have make me less uncomfortable.
Lord, give me Your love that I might be Your hands and feet.
Give me gentle wisdom to love, love, love (because help with judgement and disdain is demeaning and wounding), to help mostly by listening (and not mistaking even my "righteous indignation" for Your voice) and being willing to endure with, to walk with those who are fearful, lonely, in danger, making choices that seem unwise to me. Let me encourage but only gently -- as You guide. Protect others from my errors, fear and desperation, lest I cause more pain.
Protect my efforts to advocate for change that I be tender, offering love, listening especially to those that challenge my tolerance so that my voice might not discourage others from changing long-held positions that You might be calling them to reconsider in light of increasing understanding.
Lord, thank You that, no matter how the World sees us, you see us in truth: each of us broken and beloved; capable of great evil, yet created for good; in need of healing, yet created for purpose; lost but found by our God who never stops seeking us, working for our highest good even when we struggle against You in our willfulness. You are an awesome God. AMEN