Whisper

therapist

The words and images in today’s devotion come from a popular app called “Whisper”.   Whisper is a social networking site where people can anonymously post whatever they want.

There’s plenty of flirting, goofing around, rough language, and immaturity (so be forewarned), but the site seems to actually serve a purpose, too:

This is where people post their real struggles, pains, fears, and confessions.   Things they might not even tell their closest friends.

People write their whisper, and the program automatically chooses a picture background based on the words.  (Sometimes the picture fits better than others)

Here are some of the posts I found that come from within a half-hour radius of my church, but be forewarned — it may hurt your heart to read them.

losingmyfaithnotskinnysinglemomhome

 

 

 

 

steroids needhelp hungry jobeliminated gambling heroin feelempty brokenhearted domesticabuse drunk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

depressed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow.  These are things we don’t generally mention during Joys and Concerns, right?

Just knowing that these people live and work within range of my own church makes me ache to reach out to them.  And then it occurs to me:  Who’s to say these people, or people like them, aren’t already a part of my congregation?

The truth is, everybody has pain, and secrets, and plenty of material for “whispers”.

We don’t give voice to our whispers because we’re ashamed of them, or because people wouldn’t understand, or because we don’t want to appear weak, or because we aren’t ready to change.

Maybe we don’t speak our whispers out loud because we’d feel too vulnerable.

So what can we do with our secrets, our fears, and our shames?

Well, that’s why we have covenant groups, and accountability groups, and support groups in the church.  They are places of high trust designed for sharing the deeper stuff.

And there are counselors and therapists and pastors who are willing to listen and help.

And of course, there’s prayer.

Whether they were intended as such or not, I consider posts on Whisper to be prayers.  Surely God hears them.

God hears your prayers, too.

As for Whisper, I think it may provide a place for ministry in the 21st century.  People can actually reply to a person’s whisper, so I’ve responded to a few, offering some encouragement and comfort.

And there are people out there who offer Good News in their whispers.

For every dozen desperate secrets tossed out into cyber space, you’ll find something like this in with the mix:

godislove

 

May you find a place, online or off, where you can whisper.

Have a great week,

Mitch

 

 

 

 

P E T T Y

girl_sitting_at_school_desk.202145603_std

 

“You are so PETTY”, the anonymous note read.

She crumpled it up in a ball and threw it inside her desk, looking around to see if anyone was watching. She made an effort to return to her seat with a forced smile on her face.  She’d have time to cry after school.

And she did cry.  Even though she was popular, and had lots of friends, the words stung her. Was she really petty?  She thought she knew what the word meant, but she decided to look it up just in case:

mean or ungenerous in small or trifling things: a petty person.” 

She wondered who had written the note, and what she had done to deserve the harsh words.

Had she been mean?  Well, maybe sometimes. There were kids in her class that she teased.  Some of them didn’t dress very nicely.  She didn’t mean anything by it, really.  She was just laughing along with her friends.

Had she been “ungenerous”?  Well, she did talk behind some kid’s backs. That probably wasn’t very generous.  And she hadn’t invited Gabriella over for a big sleep over, even though they’d been best friends last year.  Gabriella’s parents lived in the “wrong” part of town, according to some of her other friends.

Now she was crying again.  Not just for embarrassment, but for shame.  She hadn’t really stopped and thought about how she might be hurting other people.

She looked at the cross hanging on her bedroom wall, and cried some more. She reached for her Bible, and it flopped open to where she had bookmarked one of her favorite verses:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Finally, she said a prayer and asked for forgiveness for how she’d behaved.  She even prayed for the person who had written her the note.

The next day she felt very different as she walked into class.  She found herself looking at each person through new eyes.  She wanted to see people the way Jesus saw them.

She sat down at her desk, and after thinking about it, reached inside to grab the crumpled up note. She thought she might keep it as a reminder.

She flattened the note out and her jaw dropped.

There it said in plain English, “You’re so PRETTY“.

Not “Petty”, “Pretty”.

Blushing slightly, she smiled and put the note back in her desk.

For a moment the thought passed through her mind, “This changes everything”.

“No it doesn’t,” she said aloud, softly, smiling.

“God’s Love changes everything.”

Have a great week,

Mitch

Pettiness prayer