RACHEL’S FATHER SHARES: A father with tears in his eyes told me about his daughter, Rachel. He said that during her twenties, she went through a difficult time–a time of rebellion–a time of making some hurtful and harmful choices. During this time she acquired an armful of tattoos.
The father continued, “Today Rachel is in her thirties. She is a responsible and talented woman and a devout follower of Jesus Christ, but she feels rejected when she enters most churches.”
RACHEL’S STORY: Today, there are so many hurting believers and unbelievers looking for those who will love and accept them for who they are today. Many times rebellion comes out of hurt. Unfortunately, many Christians have a tendency to feel that if you don’t look or act a certain way, you have no right in church or even in Heaven.
I have tried a couple of different approaches to see how people of a church would respond to my tattoos. It is amazing to me that I can wear a long-sleeved shirt and share about Christ with another believer, and they are welcoming and receptive; however, when I wear a short sleeved shirt, individuals seem distracted and put up a wall as if I have a disease. Some have even said that I should stay away from their children because, ‘I might influence them to do wrong things.’ I wonder: Do we see and love others through Jesus’s eyes, or do we accept only those who look right and act right in our own eyes?
There are many individuals who are screaming inside, “Can anyone just love me?”
RACHEL’S FATHER CONTINUES: We always care what our peers think, and being a dad in ministry, I am no different. On the one hand I loved my daughter, but I felt angry because she was a direct reflection of her mother and I. I knew what other people were thinking. Without knowing the full story, people, including family, have a tendency to react and prejudge a person by what they see.
In my case as Rachel’s father, I thought being hard, tough and setting a straight path and not bending would force Rachel to quit what she was doing and come back. Finally, a pastor who knew the situation told me, ‘Love her with all your heart–like you did the day she was born. Remember how you wanted to show her off as a new born. Love her like Jesus loves you.’
Yes, I made lots of mistakes, and still judge at times. But my daughter, Rachel, is a beautiful reflections of what God can do. Rachel, I love you not because of who you have become but because of who you are. You will always be my special daughter.