Monday, September 15, 2014

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"Never leave a soldier behind." That's pretty powerful stuff. It is the time-tested promise of our military to its men and women. And the stated reason that our government swapped some dangerous detainees for one imprisoned - and controversial – sergeant in Afghanistan.

But in all the emotional debate about this particular soldier, I never heard anyone say that "never left behind" is anything but the right thing. It's just too bad life isn't like the military in this case.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "A Soldier's Rescue - and the Ones We Leave Behind."

We've got plenty of people around us who actually feel like we do leave people behind. That widow who feels like everybody withdrew once her husband died. The senior citizen, feeling like she might as well die because everyone treats her like she already has. Kids abandoned to a foster care system that often leaves them abused and angry. And 40 million kids in this country alone, waiting for someone who will give them a family.

How many times has the immigrant, or the newcomer in the neighborhood felt abandoned? I've been the guy, in another culture, surrounded by a language and customs I didn't understand. And I'll tell you, it was just plain lonely!

The crowd blows right by those that they consider "un-cool," leaving them feeling like a discarded paper plate. It's people who can't do anything for us, whose association might make us look bad. Who've been hurt so bad that they protect themselves with a "leave me alone" vibe, which is really the last thing they want.

So many are feeling "left behind" by a world of people too self-absorbed to go after them; the painfully shy person, the troubled - and maybe troublesome - kid. In virtually every workplace, every school, every neighborhood, every roomful of people - there's someone who feels invisible, small, left out, left behind.

It's been bothering me. I want eyes to see those people no one sees. To stop for those people no one's got time for. To gravitate to the person on the edge, in the corner. To make the "little guy" feel big for once. To show love even when it's inconvenient. Because that's what my Hero did.

In His world, no one touched the repulsive lepers. But He did. No one treated children like they were more important than the big shots. He did. No one treated women with dignity and respect. He did. No respectable person hung out with those reviled "sinners." But He did. See that's my Jesus. He came after me when I was a deserter, a cosmic deserter, because I had turned my back on the very God who gave me my life. Walking away from the One who loved me like no one else; selling out to my dark side. In essence, waving at God with one hand and shaking a fist in His face with the other.

The Bible says that's a choice we have all made, that all of us "have wandered away like sheep" it says in Isaiah 53. And "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." So we have left Him behind, but He refused to leave us behind. I'm so glad.

Our word for today from the Word Of God, 1 Peter 3:18 says, "Christ died...the righteous (that's Him) for the unrighteous (that's me), that He might bring us safely home to God." That's how much He doesn't want to lose you and me.

That's why He's come after you where you are now. Perhaps through what you're hearing right now, that He is reaching out and the voice you're hearing now in your heart is not mine. It is the heart of Jesus who said, "I'm not leaving her behind. I'm not leaving him behind."

This is your day to reach out and grab the man who loved you enough to pay the death penalty for your sin on a cross. Nobody loves you like He does. And I would love to help you be sure you have made that connection and got this settled once and for all if you go to our website ANewStory.com and find there the One who's been looking for you for a long time.

I want to be like Him, and leave no one behind.