Editorial: Make or Break
by Kevin Sims
Make or Break
It was going so well. An evening out at the seafront at the end of a sunny day. Noah, my two-year-old son, was having a great time going on all the little amusement rides and was excited to be going on the big helter-skelter. We sat down on a mat at the top, Noah between my legs for protection, and off we went, sliding round and round on our way to the bottom.
So far, so good – until we reached the bottom. As I put my feet down to slow our descent, Noah tried to do the same thing. His foot got caught on the side and his leg was wrenched back, pulling his shoe off and leaving him in floods of tears.
Things moved pretty quickly from there and, just before midnight, we were leaving the emergency room of our local hospital with Noah now proudly sporting a shiny white plastercast and facing more than two weeks of being unable to run around. It turned out he had fractured his leg just below the knee.
How bad did I feel? I can’t even begin to say. Here was this little boy, in my care, and suddenly something horrible had happened. There was, in reality, nothing I would have done differently but that didn’t stop me from feeling like it was all my fault.
Why do we feel so guilty about things we shouldn’t feel bad about? I remember being in assemblies at school and the head teacher talking about some indiscretion or another. I used to feel terribly guilty – even if it was nothing to do with me!
I get really annoyed with people who use the Christian faith simply to make people feel guilty or bad about themselves. Jesus didn’t work that way. When we read about how he dealt with people who had done wrong – the woman about to be stoned for committing adultery, the woman at the well whose past and present left a lot to be desired and, one of my favourite moments in the Bible, the criminal who occupied the cross next to Jesus – he didn’t compound their guilt, he didn’t point out their sins, he didn’t go on about what terrible people they were. Instead, he showed compassion and influenced them to be better people, new people.
As Jesus’ representatives today, it’s so important that we should do the same. As Jesus’ love was unconditional, so ours should be. The Salvation Army works through this way of thinking in its practical ministry, as is shown again and again in the pages of this publication. To the Salvationists working in Iraq, Sri Lanka, Argentina, the United Kingdom and around the rest of world, it doesn’t matter what you believe, how you look, how you smell or what you’ve done.
All that really, really matters is what you can be, with help and through God’s power.
Anyone who suggests otherwise just hasn’t got a leg to stand on.