Proverbs 4:23 (CJB)
23 Above everything else, guard your heart;
for it is the source of life’s consequences.
Philippians 2:1-4 (CJB)
2 Therefore, if you have any encouragement for me from your being in union with the Messiah, any comfort flowing from love, any fellowship with me in the Spirit, or any compassion and sympathy, 2 then complete my joy by having a common purpose and a common love, by being one in heart and mind. 3 Do nothing out of rivalry or vanity; but, in humility, regard each other as better than yourselves — 4 look out for each other’s interests and not just for your own.
I have had the honor of walking with several ministry teams over the years, all coming together to bring healing, hope and restoration to vulnerable and hurting people; from living with teens in a court-ordered wilderness program, adults with developmental disabilities, teen moms during pregnancy and single parenting, women healing from abortion, women coming out of addiction, domestic violence and sex trafficking...Each of these teams and settings were unique and the level of ministry and philosophical approach was different. What was common, regardless of the secular or religious nature of the program, was how the level of care given to the team and the awareness of each team member to each other greatly affected everyone's ability to do their job well. Working with those coming out of hard backgrounds, seeing grief, heartache, trauma and abuse takes a phenomenal amount of work to "guard your heart" and it is my observation that only when the Holy Spirit is allowed to move, operate and minister among the team will everyone make it through with a whole heart and greater love for each other focused on the mission and purpose they started with.
Sometimes I think we get so focused on a cause, on helping someone out of their pain we easily let down our guard to the slowly growing wall of protection that we put up against the Spirit of God and it looks and feels like a wall that keeps others out. We begin to operate as a social service with the creeping cry of justice over mercy, retribution over forgiveness, and law over grace. We harden our hearts to each other as the ones serving and carelessly bruise and batter the ones meant to be help mates and friends. The raw and ugly of this world is not something the human heart can encounter without getting hurt, and so many times the ones coming to help end up just as, if not more, bruised, battered and rejected than those they are called to love and serve. If we are to see change that comes from the heart, we need to ask Jesus to open our eyes to those serving with us to love and protect the lost, the broken and the hurting. If we are to succeed at keeping our motives pure, operating in the Love of God then we cannot close ourselves off to His Spirit even when He is revealing our weakness, our need and our hurt. I pray that you will also see those walking with you as the ones you are called to serve, to love and to protect.
May you remain tenderhearted! May you move in common purpose and love with those you are working with! May you be one in heart and mind!