October 26, 2009

Safe Environments

Written by Boyd Bailey

Safe Environments… “Then the Lord said to Joshua: Tell the Israelites to designate the cites of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses…” Joshua 20: 1-2

We all long for a place where we can be ourselves. Where we can be understood and accepted. No one looks forward to a harsh environment of rejection. Rather it is in those safe places that we find confidence, strength and healing. Especially, when we have been deeply hurt, misunderstood or ignored. God expects us to respect. “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17).

You may be really struggling right now. It may be because of your bad choices, your good choices, or from the choices of another. Either way you are hurting. It is imperative that you find a safe place. You are not in a condition to continue by yourself. You need to talk through the issues, express your frustrations and receive God’s grace and understanding. Safe environments allow you to process pain. But who is safe to be around?

Perhaps it’s your pastor, a trusted friend, a new employer, or a complete stranger. It may be a secluded trip to the mountains or the beach. Your soul is bleeding. It aches. Have you slipped into depression? Have you paused from the raging battle and let God and others help you heal. A sabbatical from service could give you the courage to carry on.

On the other hand, what are some ways for you to provide a safe environment for friends and family whose faith is faltering? One way is to forgive and accept as God forgives and accepts. “Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow” (2 Corinthians 2:7). Let others know they are safe with you. You are not there to fix them or pronounce judgment. You are there to listen, understand, pray for them and trust God with the needed heart change.

Furthermore, don’t underestimate the power of your home environment. An invitation into your home automatically says I care. Your home is a sanctuary of selfless love and service. The power of someone watching a healthy family experience life is healing in itself. If you allow your home to humbly serve another, it can drive out the infectious puss of pride and be an ointment of healing for you. A safe environment shows Jesus. Indeed, your Savior is the safest place for your soul. “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him” (1 John 5:18). Who can I invite into a safe environment of acceptance and love?

Related Readings: Proverbs 29:25; Isaiah 14:30; John 17:12; 2 Timothy 4:18

Transformational Living
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