Pastors and Teachers–this one’s for you. Are these commonly part of your teaching?

  • “You cannot know how deep love can be until you’ve had your own children”
  • “The best training ground for sacrificial love is marriage.”
  • “It is only when looking at your own child that you understand the great sacrifice God made in giving Jesus as sacrifice for our sins.”
  • (any kind of variation of these)

Here’s the deal. God may have taught YOU deep love through the having of children. He may have taught YOU (and many others) sacrificial love in marriage. But is your God so small that He can only teach those concepts in those two environments?

Talk to me of adoption. Those are not “your own” children–yet God ties bonds so tight that if you ask any adoptive parent, they will know no difference in the kind of love they have for their biological children as compared to their adoptive children. If anything, there is greater love in the ache of the moments missed–the 1st birthday cake smash, the first day of kindergarten picture.

Talk to me of social workers who walk into squalor and evil and chaos, who pick up a child or children, and walk them out of chaos and into hope for different. They visit and revisit heartbreaking circumstances for the sake of children who are not theirs.

Talk to me about my own career–thousands of hours at all hours of the night helping students through situations I did not choose. Tell me I can’t know sacrifice when I walk away from dinner, or leave a restaurant, or duck out of church, because the phone rang, the student needed someone and that someone was me. Tell me of sitting in an office and watching the involuntary reactions of a woman sharing that she was assaulted–a woman, frankly, nobody believed–but those involuntary protective actions, they cannot be denied–and because I saw them, the entire course of her treatment changed. Tell me of standing in the yard of another student, waiting for the coroner to come get his family member…hours and hours and hours later–and these things never happen at noon. Tell me how my hours at hospitals, visiting a student who doesn’t rank as one of my favorite people, but someone needs to be there–and that someone is me because they lived in my “house” alongside 375 or 947 others, depending on what year and what university I was at during the time.

Tell me how I don’t know sacrifice. Tell me a 20-year-old firefighter donning protective gear and walking into a fire that he did not set to protect life and then property of people who won’t know his name–tell me he doesn’t know love or sacrifice.

Pastors and Teachers–stop making your God so small. Because by doing so, you limit the stories of the people you teach. You silence people like me. And you tell me every time that my God can’t possibly teach me these deep life lessons because I don’t fall into those small contexts for how you were taught those things.

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