I have the privilege of teaching a nonprofit management course as an adjunct professor in the MBA program at Bethel College in Mishawaka, IN and the two people I mentioned above were guest speakers for my class last night.
He was an angry man with addictions that was dangerous to himself and others. Less than ten years ago, he returned to this area homeless and destitute. He is now a follower of Christ, married, father of a young son with another child on the way, working on his MBA, rising in leadership responsibilities at the large nonprofit where he works and he serves on several boards of organizations in the community. He said that he used to destroy communities but he is now in the business of rebuilding them. His countenance seems to shine with joy and purpose. I don’t know her story except that it possibly has to do with drugs, but she too has a countenance of someone who is grateful and enjoys serving others. She is now using her teaching skills to help those in need.
Two transformed people who are now making a difference in the lives of others – being instruments of transformation in the lives of others. All because of the transforming love of Jesus Christ and His people. People who looked past the label “felon” and saw broken human beings who needed and wanted help. People, who because of the love of Christ, took a chance on ex-felons and invested in their lives and gave them a hand up. People who looked on broken people with the love and compassion of Christ and allowed themselves to be instruments of restoration in the lives of others.
The impact of the transformation of these two people will be incredible as they touch the lives of others. When you look at people do you see labels (felon, criminal, troublemaker, drifter, vagabond, busybody, stuck up, and so on) or do you see broken human beings desperately in need of compassion shown in the love of Jesus Christ and His people?
Take a chance and give someone a “hand up”. Be part of the transforming of a human life. Make a difference.