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Monday, June 10, 2013

People

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him." So the LORD God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him. (Genesis 2:18-20 NLT)

My dad just said to me recently, "When I used to work nights as a police officer, I would alway say 'If people knew what happened in this city at night they would never feel safe.'"  Uniform police officer...detective...homicide...county coroner's office.  These jobs and places filled the "work day" of my father's life after returning home from World War II.  He watched people do unspeakable things to one another.  Often times it was his job to stop them before or while they were in the act of hurting others.  Other times it was his job to catch them after the fact.  You would think that a resume' like that would make someone hard...jaded.  The exact opposite is true.

I don't know how he did it, but somehow in the midst of all this death and destruction my dad still likes people.  He treats them with respect, kindness, even love.  He builds them up.  He tries to get them to laugh.  He makes it his mission to interrupt their day and make it better.  It would drive me crazy as a child growing up because my dad seemed to know everyone.  Everywhere we would go, we would "bump into" people dad would know...and they always seemed like "old friends."  His life regularly reminds me that it is not good for man to be alone.  That is why God created other human beings.

I'm still not sure how he does it.  I haven't seen nearly the horror, death, and destruction that he has and I hope I never will.  In ministry, though, I've seen much of the fall out.  I've seen the after effects of people doing terrible things to other people.  In spite of those sins, I still want to treat people with respect, kindness...even love.  I want to see people as human beings made in the image of God, regardless of their past.  When I read the pages of Scripture and I see Jesus hanging out with thieves, prostitutes, and murders - pointing them back to God.  Sometimes I picture my dad doing the same thing.  Then I picture myself there too.  Thank you, dad, for the man you are.  Your model continues to help me grow into the man God wants me to become.