I told a story to our church this past weekend as part of the ending of a series on parenting.
But the story was about more than parenting.
The more I’ve reflected on it, it’s about why I do what I do. And why, I’ll bet, a lot of you do what you do.
Here’s the story:
Just a few weeks ago, on a Thursday afternoon, a young woman came by the office to give me something.
She was going to put it in the offering plate, but decided to just hand it to me.
I was in a meeting, so she left it at the front desk.
On the outside it said, “Jim White,” and underneath, “Be careful...sharp objects inside.”
On the back it read, “I thought I was going to put this in an offering plate but I think it would be best to give you directly.”
I opened the envelope, and inside a plastic bag were razor blades.
And a letter she later told me I could share.
“I have been coming to your church on and off now since I was in 5th grade. I am now 23...When I was 12 years old I started cutting myself. Now my arms are covered in an overwhelming amount of scars, but I am proud to say there are no open cuts. I have not cut for probably a year now, but I still have razor blades that are hidden around my room...
“I quit when I was about to cut one day but heard Jesus in my ear saying, “I bled enough.”
“He took my pain on the cross and I no longer needed to take it out on myself.
“But I realized by holding on to razor blades I am not fully letting go of the pain and addiction to cutting. I want to fully let it go now...
“It says in the Bible, “Cast all your anxiety on him for He cares for you.” So I’m doing that today. This is an offering plate and I am offering to Jesus today more than any amount of money I could ever offer Him. These are all my razor blades that I have kept hidden around in different places out of my reach just in case.
“I am handing it over to God and I trust you also with this as well. Thank you for all you and this church have done in my life...”
And then she signed her name.
And now I am holding her razor blades in my hand, instead of her holding them in hers.
And that is why I do what I do.
James Emery White
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About Dr. James Emery White
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina; President of Serious Times, a ministry which explores the intersection of faith and culture (www.serioustimes.org); and ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture on the Charlotte campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Dr. White holds the B.S., M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees, along with additional work at Vanderbilt University and Oxford University. He is the author of over a dozen books.
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