When Dirty Faith Gets Too Close to Home

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I think God must have read my book.

He’s letting dirty faith get far too close to home.

It is very easy to practice dirty faith while safely ensconced 5,000 miles from the kids of Hope. They become numbers and good stories, not hurting children whose eyes hold pain, and whose hearts understand a side of the world I will never fully comprehend.

It is a safe faith because the dirt under my fingernails gets washed away on the twelve-hour flight back home. It is not ever-present, ever-pressing.

I like my dirty faith to be clean.

But then there is a knock on our door—literally.

A family with three children, trying to recover from past behaviors and decisions—who perhaps discovered community for the first times in their lives here in our small town, in our church, at our community dinners—has received a notice of eviction.

And young children face the prospect of a night without shelter.

Did they make choices that got them in this situation? Yep, they did.

And Jesus loves them, and really, really wants their lives to be different.

Then we discover that they are just the tip of the iceberg.

Last February, our small-town church began a really good and generous thing. We open our fellowship hall twice a month for an all-comers dinner; anyone in our community who wants to eat with us is welcome. And neighbors come…

Several widow women who simply enjoy the company. A couple of young families who don’t have to wrangle children while preparing dinner. Two Mormon missionaries away from home, ties and crisp white short sleeve shirts—astounded that they are welcome at our table.

And several families who live within a block or two of our beautiful church. We didn’t know they were hungry.

And so we’re becoming the face of God for them, trying to love them as Jesus would. It is a messy love that comes with knocks on the door and eviction notices. It does not have clear-cut answers, because destructive patterns of behavior are difficult to change. But, just perhaps, changing people is not in our job description; loving them is.

Dirty faith keeps getting closer to home.

Have your eyes been opened recently to needs around you? How are you being stretched?

We’re all in this loving our neighbors thing together…

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