My sister-in-law, Sam, posted this a couple of days ago, and I’ve watched it a few times. It’s one of those things that I’ll add to my I-don’t-lose-my-man-card-for-tearing-up-at-this list (Yes, I actually have one of those). The fact that it’s a commercial tempers my reaction only slightly.
The people in this video went out of their way to make better an unjust situation for one neighbor. Breaking down barriers is presented as the primary motivation. They used their own time and effort to make a member of their community live like he would be able to live if a difficult thing – the loss of his hearing – hadn’t happened. There is only so much he could do for himself. The rest has to be done for him by someone else, and they did it knowing they wouldn’t receive compensation.
The story of Ruth in the book that bears her name in the Bible is a great illustration of redemption. Ruth and her eventual husband, Boaz, give of themselves to improve someone else’s lot in life. They broke down barriers at great cost to themselves and without the promise of benefit. Here’s the four chapter story if you have the time.
This is what Jesus did, does, and will do for us. The Apostle John records God’s words in the second to last chapter of the Bible, “And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:5, NLT). The world is messed up and Jesus is focused on putting things back to the way he created them to be: without deafness, autism or anything else.
This follows an idea that I’ve had for some time, but that God has put on my heart with greater force lately. If everything in the world that is good comes from God, and people have some desire to do good things (like breaking down barriers), then God has shared this desire with them. This must be true both for people who believe in him and for those who don’t.
Last year, my wife and I started a type of church referred to as a Missional Community with some good friends. Among other awesome aspects, the idea of putting our finances into the community rather than into buildings or salary is brilliant. What thrills me is the concept of connecting with the same group of people over and over who are redeeming the community in some way, whether or not they are doing it for the sake of Jesus Christ.
In the early days of our church, called Village, we’ve focused on the missional emphasis of helping people who are helping kids with autism. I’ve been substitute teaching with the Autism Unit of Summit Academy for almost two years, and I’ve seen how the teachers work to provide redemption by breaking down societal barriers for these kids every day. Yes, they get paid. But, they don’t get paid enough and they give far above what’s called for in their contracts. So, our church focuses on coming alongside them to help them do their godly thing, whether or not they’re doing for God’s sake.
What things are there about your neighbors that you could help to redeem? Or, where do you see people breaking down barriers but not as part of a church? Join in with them. Cheer them on and go out of your way to help them in any way possible, because they are doing the work of Jesus – just like you.