What is Their Story

 

Dear Church Family,
Greeting in Jesus’ name!
1 Samuel 1 tells the story about how Hannah, who was barren, went to the temple to pray for a son. Eli, the high priest, noticed Hannah’s silently moving lips and, assuming she was drunk, corrected her for her drunkenness only to find out he was mistaken. She was not drunk.
Everyone has a story. Their story is shaped by their experiences, both good and bad. Those experiences provide a framework for how they see the world, relate to others and make decisions. If you do not know their story then it is easy to make assumptions that likely are not accurate. 
When people come to church, whether they come every Sunday or they come for the first time, we must be cautious that we don’t make a wrong assumption about them like Eli did Hannah. What Eli saw was Hannah’s response to her barrenness. His response was based on ignorance of her story. We can do the same thing. Even when you think you know someone, I have discovered that you really may not. People are normally not transparent enough to let you see the real them. You may know some of their story, but not the “gory details” of their story. People don’t share for a variety of reasons, but I believe that whatever their reasoning, the underlying reality is that they are afraid of how they are going to be received and how they will be treated after people really know their story. 
The Biblical church was made up of tax collectors, who were actually racketeers, prostitutes, people involved in witchcraft, murderers, etcetera who found a place among the people of God and became something other than what could have been predicted by their story. 
When you see people at church, whether they are new faces or familiar, you have to realize that they have a story. What you say to them, whether or not you ignore them, how you look at them, whether or not you smile, show kindness, or are cold and distant speaks volumes to them. Hannah bore a son that changed a nation. You who once were unfruitful and on your way to hell, are now a new creation in Jesus. We have to realize that the end of everyone’s story has yet to be written, and how we treat them can have an impact on how their story goes. You have to determine how you want to impact their story.
I call you blessed!
Pastor