In the past 24 hours I have had three separate conversations that have broken my heart. Each of these individuals is dealing with heartache that runs deep in the core. Each of these individuals have a circumstance unique to their own being, but there is a commonality in the underlying nature of all three situations.  The commonatlity:

other people’s decisions are having profound impacts on their own lives.

In reality, every individual faces pain caused by someone else’s choices at some point in their life, but the hardest part of this reality lies in the fact that we cannot control what other people do, say, or think.

I watched and listened as each person was sharing the suffering that was happening in their life because of a decision (or series of decisions) that someone else was choosing to make, and my heart became heavy with them. How do you encourage someone when they have no control over the pain that is being caused to them? I sat for a long time this morning processing. My mind has been muddled, not being able to provide clear understanding or next steps. I don’t have answers for any of these situations apart from Jesus. His decision to give up His life for our own, is a decision that does not bring pain or heartache, but is one that brings peace and hope. It is the one decision that I can hold on to.

There, in one life, is one decision that has the most profound impact that anyone could ever make.

You see though others have negatively impacted me by choices they have made, I myself have also made those same mistakes. I have hurt others. I have let others down. I have made decisions that have brought negative consequences on others lives as well as my own. But Christ chose to die in my place despite my selfishness. And because of His decision I now have hope. I now have new life. And I DON’T deserve it. It is this reality that allows my eyes to be opened a little wider when someone else choses themselves over me or worse when someone else choses themselves over God. Because when I chose myself over others or myself over God, Jesus still choses to lay Himself aside so that I may be saved. That is grace. And because of His grace towards me, I am able to have grace towards others. It is not a grace we naturally possess, it is a God-given grace through the Holy Spirit when we confess our own shortcomings and allow Christ’s life to be accounted our own.

So though you have no control over what other people will do towards you, there is Someone who chose to die for you when He had no control over what you would do to Him. He loves you. And He wants to walk through life with you. His name is Jesus.