In the fire service, we are taught when dealing with hazardous materials incidents that we are to:
Recognize, Notify, Identify, & Protect:
In our personal lives, we will ultimately find that our environments are often hazardous to our health. We may be in the most vibrant, passionate, and fired up stage of our lives and yet be in an environment that does everything to poison, condemn, and cause us to doubt. We often forget, that we were made for a purpose and that God has equipped us to deal with these hazardous situations.
How is this so?
Consider our response to a Hazardous Material Incident:
When dealing with hazardous material incidents we consult the Field Guide; thus when dealing with toxic individuals we should consult the ultimate field guide:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
We have recognized the fact that we are in world of hurting individuals. We have consulted God’s word for resources and we pray (notify) to be equipped for every good work.
Yet, we need to change our perspective on those we view as hazardous materials. They may be toxic to others but how did they become so harsh? Do we realize that God loves them just as much as He loves us? Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 9: 36-38:
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
We have identified those that are in need and we must have a new found compassion for them. Our challenge that lies before us is to begin the hard work of protecting them by offering the saving grace of Jesus Christ. As a Haz-Mat technician approaches a scene they are properly dressed and prepared for their challenge. As a worker entering the harvest field, we must be sure to put on the armor of God and prepare our hearts for those we are about to minister to. We must “Always be prepared to give an answer (an apologetic) to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15)
For “apologetic’s, if not under-girded by love is really nothing more than a sword intended to decapitate the person in front.” (Ravi Zacharias) Therefore as we approach our hurting world, let us not forget to approach them with the love of Jesus Christ. For if we do, the doors God may open will amaze us and change our hearts in the process. “For the Son of man entered the world to seek and save which was lost.” (Matthew 18:11)
Let us seek to save the lost in a hurting world around us,
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries