Suffering is an inescapable part of life that everyone faces. That’s what makes encouragement and hope so important. The question then becomes, “Can hurting people find life-changing hope at your church?”
Or would they be better off going to this public bathroom to be encouraged?
In January of 2013, a female user of Reddit, a website dedicated to trending news on the Internet, took a picture of the inside of a bathroom stall on her college campus and uploaded it to the site. The picture was of a handwritten note taped to the backside of the bathroom door that spelled out encouragement and hope for the horrifying life experiences that other girls had scribbled on the stall’s walls.
The message, written on a simple sheet of notebook paper, was anonymous. Here is what it said:
To the girl who was raped: You are so strong. I cannot fathom the pain you must have gone through. The fact that you have the bravery to write it (even on a bathroom wall) gives me hope.
To the girl with eating disorders: I promise you, although I don’t know you, you are beautiful, you deserve your health. You deserve freedom from that hell.
To the girl with the alcoholic father: I am so sorry for the agony it must cause. Again, such courage is remarkable you must be such a strong person to see such pain.
To the girl whose father died: Missing them never goes away. The ache of their absence never goes away. But the love they had, the memories you share surely must last. I am sure, out of the bottom of my heart, the people who have left you in this world are exceptionally proud of the person you are.
Every time I see these walls, these confessions, I feel so blessed to know I have the privilege of seeing them. Your moments, these secrets, are all precious even though they are sad. To all of you (including those I did not mention, and those who have not yet written):
-You are worthy.
-You are strong.
-You are brave.
-You are loved.
Granted, the note writer didn’t share any Bible passages or profound psychological insight on reconstructing broken lives, but she did empathize with those who were hurting and tried to remind them of how valuable they were as human beings. But her simple, heartfelt effort was appreciated. Written below the taped up note was this response: “To the person who wrote this, thank you.”
If such inspiring hope and encouragement can be found inside bathroom stalls, should it not also be found inside church halls, too? How can you offer encouragement and hope to those who need it most?
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)