God Is the Restorer of Our Hearts: John & Stasi Eldredge and Chris & Emily Norton
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John: I want to say it is an absolutely life-changing experience to shift your paradigm to the idea that “God wants to restore me. He wants to restore all of me. He wants to restore my heart, my soul, my personality, all of that. He wants to heal me back to the person that He had in mind when He created me.”
God Is the Restorer of Our Hearts: John & Stasi Eldredge and Chris & Emily Norton – Episode #191
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Our guests this week have come to know God as a restorer and want people to have a more intimate relationship with Him: authors and founders of Ransomed Heart Ministries John & Stasi Eldredge, and authors Chris & Emily Norton.
First up, we talk with John & Stasi Eldredge about what it truly means to be restored. The Eldredges believe that when you bring the heart back into focus, you are bringing it back into the center-right of the faith experience, which helps people find the healing ministry of Jesus amidst their brokenness.
John: Hi, we are John and Stacey Eldredge, and we are authors.
Stasi: We also run a ministry called Ransomed Heart, which is devoted to the recovery of our hearts as men and women in the love of God.
John & Stasi’s Mission and Passion
John: Ransomed Heart Ministries grew out of our books, Captivating, Wild at Heart, and now sixteen other books and devotionals that we’ve written.
One of the things we’ve discovered living here is that this is a very post-church era in the world. People’s denominational ties and local church ties are not as strong, maybe, as they once were. A lot of people get their faith experiences online or through podcasts, things like that. And we find that as a parachurch ministry, we’re able to come alongside the church and help catch a lot of those people who don’t have a context right now to experience God and hear the Word of God preached.
Stasi: Coming alongside and helping and offering something that the local body can’t—with a message that completely goes along with what churches are teaching, but provides an intimate encounter, a place where they can hear the voice of God and more instruction to go deeper. You can only hear certain things, and we’ve got a lot of teaching that they want to impart to people.
John: One of our hearts’ deepest passions is to help people come into an intimate relationship with Jesus, with their Father, God, and with the Holy Spirit. And it’s really been remarkable to us over the years. People come to our conferences, come to our retreats, people who’ve been raised in the church or have spent many, many years in a faith context who don’t have a personal life with God. They’ve never heard God speak to them. They’ve never experienced the healing love of God in their own story and into their own hearts. And so we’ve got a pretty bold statement when we say we really want to change the way people perceive Christianity, because it’s not a religion, right? It is a deep healing connection with our Father, with Jesus, and with the Holy Spirit.
“We really want to change the way people perceive Christianity, because it’s not a religion, right? It is a deep healing connection with our Father, with Jesus, and with the Holy Spirit.” – John Eldredge
As a therapist over the years, I’ve counseled a lot of people who have been very frustrated with their Christian experience, because they tried it: they checked all the boxes, they went to Sunday school, they showed up for the potlucks, they served on the committees, they volunteered for everything they could volunteer for, and yet they didn’t . . . they didn’t find that deeper life with God they were looking for.
Let’s reframe that for a moment. Jesus says, “I no longer call you servants. I call you my friends.” Right? So think about how you would live your life with a friend. It’s heart to heart. It’s life to life. It’s full of honesty. Right? It’s not having to fake it and pretend, it’s not about getting your act together. It’s about shared life experience in and through the day to days in parenting, at work. Right? In the good times and in the hard times. We want to reframe life with Jesus as something that’s actually not primarily lived in religious boxes, but it’s something that’s lived throughout your entire life experience as more and more of your heart becomes more and more connected to His heart.
Stasi: Right. Oh, absolutely.
Sometimes along our Christian journey, we can get confused about Christianity and what it’s all about. The invitation of Christianity is not to be a moral person. Jesus did move heaven and earth so that we would be good boys and girls, or that we would obey Him. The goal of Christianity is restoration. That’s why Jesus came to give us back our hearts, and then to release us to be the men and women that He created us to be. So restoration is really the goal.
“The invitation of Christianity is not to be a moral person. Jesus did not move heaven and earth so that we would be good boys and girls, or that we would obey Him. The goal of Christianity is restoration.” – Stasi Eldredge
John: One of Jesus’s favorite passages in all of scripture is Isaiah 61, because it’s the passage that He quotes in Luke 4, when He announces His ministry. He’s come out of the wilderness, He’s been baptized by John, and now it’s going to start. Now, these three public years are beginning. And here’s what He quotes. He says, “The spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to do these things. And these things are to heal the brokenhearted and to set the captives free.” And it is absolutely, utterly transforming in a person’s life and in their story and in their relationship with God when you bring the heart back into focus. You bring the heart back into the center-right of their faith experience.
And so what we’re about primarily is helping people find the healing ministry of Jesus. [We pour] into the broken and wounded and the lost places of their heart, and then also into those places of bondage and captivity as well.
Stasi: And one of the ways that we sneak into the heart is by uncovering what you want? What the desires of a person’s heart? A desire for intimacy, for adventure, for beauty. That really uncovers the way that we bear the image of God, and also the places where we’ve been wounded. So we use that. We use a lot of story to get to the heart, like Jesus uses story to get to the human heart, and then to bring His ministry there.
Creating a Restoration Year
John: This year I released a devotional called Restoration Year. It’s a 365-day daily reading, prayer and reflection, an experience designed around seeking restoration in our lives because this is the key.
I wanted to create an experience where over the course of a year, through prayer and scripture and readings and good questions, the reader would actually experience genuine levels of restoration. Now, again, we’re not after perfection, and we’re not trying to set some high bar here, but “You shall know them by their fruit,” is one of the most beautiful descriptions Jesus gave us to judge anything—judge a book, a church, a conference, a worship group. What is the fruit of it? Does it heal the brokenhearted? Does it set the captive free? Because that’s what Jesus is up to. And so if it’s not doing those things, you want to look at it and go, “Why not? Why not? Let’s get it there.”
“‘You shall know them by their fruit,’ is one of the most beautiful descriptions Jesus gave us to judge anything—judge a book, a church, a conference, a worship group. What is the fruit of it? Does it heal the brokenhearted? Does it set the captive free?” – John Eldredge
So I love devotionals. Obviously, Oswald Chambers’ [My Utmost for His Highest] has been one of my favorites. And Jesus Calling is an absolutely fabulous devotional.
Stasi: I was given Jesus Calling nine years ago, and I keep it with me. I’ve been reading it almost every day for all of these years. And what is crazy to me is how on a particular day, it meets me exactly where I am. I love how God does that. It has brought me encouragement and hope, reminding me that God is in control, that by turning over to Him my worries, my cares, anxieties, what’s going on in my life, I can know His peace, that He’s God over all. And then sometimes, when I have more time, I look up the scripture references and it is just great.
John: And I wrote this book, Restoration Year, with a very specific goal that if you will, in the loving care of Jesus, if you will go back and look at certain things in your story—hopes and dreams that you’ve abandoned, deep agreements that you’ve made with the lies that have come against you, shaping experiences in your childhood that may have framed who you are today—and let Christ in, at the end of the year, you will find that you actually have more of your heart back.
Stasi: Right. Right. And He isn’t scrapping our original hearts. What He’s doing and wanting to do is restore that original, glorious, masculine or feminine heart that He created in us.
John: And what we found over twenty-five years of helping people get their lives back and get their hearts back is that the answers lie back in your story. There are places where we gave up on hopes and dreams, places that we were wounded, places that things were spoken to us, that we made agreements with. You know, “You’ll never amount to something,” right? “You’re just not as smart as the other kids in the class,” “You’re not as pretty,” or, “Not as amazing,” right? These secrets lie back in our stories, and what the devotional Restoration Year does is through a series of scriptures and reflections and good questions, it’s letting us go back into the stories of our lives to find those places where we need the healing ministry of Jesus.
We Are Not Enough Without God
Stasi: There is a message that is prevalent in our world today. In fact, I just this meme on Facebook and it said, “You are enough.” And I just wanted to say, “No, you’re not. No, you’re not without God.” Now, without God, none of us are enough. Now, we’re not on our own with Jesus or the Holy Spirit living inside of us, but the Holy Spirit is given to us as our counselor and our guide. And apart from Him, we don’t have one. So there is a push—and it’s been around for a long time— with self-help books, with having a better life. And there is some healing. There’s some wisdom. I mean, truth is truth. But you’re not going to get the life and the healing that you need or that you’re not meant to live without an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Right? In Him, we’re enough because we’re meant to live in union with Him. The life of Christ within us pouring out, then we have life.
“Without God, none of us are enough.” – Stasi Eldredge
John: There is a movement in the world today that is seeking healing without God. And that actually is super troubling to us. We don’t think it’s possible, and we don’t think that God wants the world to operate without Him. He created us for intimacy, created us for relationship. He created us to need Him. I think bottom line, there is no real restoration without union with Jesus Christ—deep, integrated union of our life to His vine and branch is the way He described it.
Stasi: As we talk about Jesus’ desire to restore us, I think it’s important to note that we won’t be fully restored until we’re seeing Him face to face. This life is a journey, and sanctification is a process. And there are also seasons in our life where it’s more intentional work of God to pursue healing. We’re big believers in counseling and every tool that’s available for us that God has given to us to pursue our healing. And there are times of intensity when things aren’t going well when we can’t get out of addiction that we’re trying to break, or we’re just sad.
John: Or we can’t even get out of bed in the morning.
Stasi: That’s a big clue, yeah. The offer of Jesus is restoration, but I think it’s important to note that it’s a journey. It’s a process. It’s a lifelong process. We’re not going to be where we are meant to be until we are seeing Him face to face.
“The offer of Jesus is restoration, but I think it’s important to note that it’s a journey. It’s a process. It’s a lifelong process. We’re not going to be where we are meant to be until we are seeing Him face to face.” – Stasi Eldredge
Stasi: Sanctification happens over our lifetime. Now, there are seasons of intense work of Christ for healing, like when things aren’t going well, when you’re depressed.
John: Crisis, when things blow up.
Stasi: There is an addiction that you just don’t seem to be able to be free of. Hard times can actually be invitations from our God to pursue deeper healing with Him.
“Hard times can actually be invitations from our God to pursue deeper healing with Him.” – Stasi Eldredge
John: And we’re not after perfection, right? You want to take that the pressure of perfection off and say God is clearly a God of process. The acorn to the oak tree, the little child to the mature adult: God is a God of process, and He wants us to cooperate with Him in it.
And so things will come up, it’s the fight with the spouse, it’s, “I lost my job,” it’s, “Wow, I am experiencing enormous amounts of anxiety right now in my life,” that we think are actually invitations from God.
Jesus says in Revelation, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone will open the door, I will come in.” I think He knocks through our life circumstances. I think He knocks through our heartaches, I think He knocks when we feel lost. And He’s saying, “Will you give me deeper access to your soul? Will you go with me into the unhealed places of your life? I want to meet you there.” And then in a process of recovery, it can be absolutely phenomenal.
Stasi: I also think it’s really important to note that in order to pursue healing with Christ, you have to be honest about your life. There can be pressure, particularly in Christianity, that to be happy all the time is to be joyful all the time. Put a happy face on it. But that’s not actually what joy means.
We can’t have healing and a true relationship with Christ if we’re living in denial if we’re ignoring what’s really going on in our lives. So the invitation is as well as, to be honest with Him and to live an authentic life with Him. Sometimes we don’t want to go there. We don’t wanna cry because we think we’ll never stop crying. That’s not the truth. We have a friend who understands and wants to walk alongside us on the journey of restoration.
Narrator: You can find John’s book, Restoration Year, everywhere books are sold.
Stay with us for our interview with Chris and Emily Norton after this brief message about the new edition of Jesus Calling made especially for the Easter season.
Narrator: The Easter season is filled with joy and hope. Now, there’s a new way to focus on the holiday with the new book, Jesus Calling® for Easter. With 50 Jesus Calling devotions selected just for the Lent and Easter season, Jesus Calling for Easter includes Scripture verses alongside breathtaking imagery and exquisite design. Jesus Calling for Easter makes a stunning gift for those who love Jesus Calling and would like a new way to observe the Easter season. To learn more about this beautiful new edition of Jesus Calling, please visit jesuscalling.com/books.
Narrator: Motivational speaker Chris Norton has packed more wins and losses, twists and turns, into the last ten years than many do in decades. After a devastating football injury left him paralyzed, Chris promised himself that he would fight the doctors’ diagnoses that he would never move below his neck again. With his family’s love and his deep faith, Chris defied doctors and inspired millions as he, with the help of his now-wife Emily, walked across the stage at his college graduation—and a few years later, with Emily down the aisle at their wedding, They recount this journey in the book they wrote together called The Seven Longest Yards.
Chris: My name is Chris Norton. I’m a dad, father, motivational speaker, and now an author.
Emily: And I’m Emily Norton. We have five kids that we’ve adopted, and then we are also foster parents to one little boy right now. That’s our life right now.
Chris: I grew up in a small town in Iowa. I had great, supportive parents. I have an older sister, a younger sister, and I just loved sports. I loved competition. I was always active and doing something. I just knew I wanted to continue to play sports.
When I got to college and started playing college football, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my future, but I wanted to become an all-American football player, earn a business degree, meet the girl of my dreams, and hopefully someday make enough money to own a lake house. But as the old saying goes, life happens to you while you’re making other plans.
Life Changes Forever
Chris: On October 16, 2010, a beautiful fall day, it was perfect football weather and the sixth game of the season. In the third quarter, we’re mounting a comeback, and on the far right side of the field, the ball is kicked, and I sprinted downfield as hard as I could possibly go. I see this opening forming, and I knew that ball carrier and tried running through the hole, and I’m going to stop him and drive my shoulder so hard through his legs that he’s gonna drop the ball. Well, I hit him at full speed, full force. But I mistime my jump just by a split second. Instead of getting my head in front of the ball carrier, my head collided right with his legs, and in an instant, I lose all feeling and movement from my neck down.
I heard the whistle blow, the pile clears, and I could not get up. No matter how hard I tried, nothing was working. And I’m telling myself, Chris, you’ve got to get up. And I keep trying to push off the ground, but I just felt like someone turned the power off to my body. Eventually, the game stopped for me, and I’m just lying there wondering, Okay, what’s going on? Stay patient. Nothing serious can happen to me. But little did I know, I had just suffered a severe spinal cord injury.
It was so hard to process, because yesterday at that time, I was walking, I was sitting up for my college football game. Then all of a sudden, I’m lying there with a three percent chance of ever moving anything below my neck. I was numb at first, and then I got angry. I got mad. I told myself, “No way, not me. This is not going to be my life. I’m going to beat these odds. I’m not going to end up like the ninety-seven percent who don’t recover from this. I’ll do whatever it takes to be that three percent who get through it.” And so I just went to work.
I started nodding my head yes and no. That was the only movement I could do. I’m just nodding my head. Yes. No. For hours, I looked like a giant bobblehead, just bouncing my head around. And thankfully, I had my family, I had my friends, I had my faith in God. I just felt like, I have to keep going. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. God’s going to care of me. I just had to keep doing my part.
A Walk of a Lifetime
Emily: So about three years after Chris’s accident, we actually met online.
Chris: When we first started talking and messaging, I was used to some online, surface-level conversations, but Emily just went for the deep, hard-hitting questions like you’re being interviewed. And I really appreciated that, because she asked questions that were like, “What were you thinking right after surgery when your life was flipped upside down? How do you stay so positive through your adversity?” She just had this natural curiosity, and she went beyond that surface level. She really wanted to get to know me for who I was and who I am.
Emily: I looked him up. He had a link for his Chris Norton Foundation that helps other people with disabilities. So I figured that out. I was like, “Hey, that’s pretty cool.” I was really intrigued to know more about it. It was really cool to see he was using this injury to help others, and not just feeling sorry for himself. And he didn’t become just all about himself because he did have different needs he was dealing with. But he’s like, “I’m going to help other people.” So that really, really intrigued me, and I wanted to get to know him better.
In just getting to know him, I saw he is so positive, and he’s able to find the good even when he struggles to move past [things], he keeps going and finds the good in every single day. And then he had a strong faith in God, which was really important to me as well.
Chris: I knew I had to meet her. I’ll never forget when we found this public meeting spot and [I saw] her walk across the street. I’m pretty sure my jaw just dropped, and I had to pick it back up and collect myself. She was beautiful, and she just focused on my eyes and talking to me. She wasn’t preoccupied with looking at my hands, with the wheelchair, she just really cared about who I was as a person. And I just really appreciated that, and felt close to her, instantly. I had a strong connection, and all her morals and values and her faith in God was just really appealing.
A seed planted in my heart that I had to walk across the stage of my college graduation. It was right at the beginning of my college career that I got hurt, so to end it with this triumphant walk, going from a tragedy to a triumphant moment, was just something I felt would be really special. I was kind of training for it. I told Emily about it, and then Emily was inspired and moved by this goal and really wanted to help me, so she came alongside me. She pushed me. She helped train me.
And then Emily ended up being the one who helped me get across the stage, which made it really special. And to make that weekend even more nerve-wracking, I decided I was going to propose to Emily the day before the graduation walk. I was way more nervous about the proposal than the walk in front of thousands of people. Thankfully, she said yes. Otherwise, the next day would have been really awkward. But it worked out for the best. And it was just such a fun, amazing moment to do that together.
There Is Hope Through Depression
Emily: After the graduation walk, it really hit me hard, this season of depression. I didn’t really know what was going on for a long time. I didn’t think I could be depressed. I mean, there was nothing bad that happened to me. We were living and had everything we needed, so it didn’t make sense, but I was not feeling like myself. And slowly, I was just caring less and less, and wanted to sleep more, and I really hit this super dark place where every single day felt like a huge battle that I just couldn’t get through. It was a very, very challenging time.
I did not want to face what was going on. It made me feel weak. It made me feel crazy. So I decided that I was just going to push it down, bury it. Don’t deal with it. I would go and I’d pray, and that’s when it would hit me. I’d cry. I’m like, “I don’t like feeling like that. Nope. Not going to do it.” And it turned me away from God and from Chris and from my family, and I was super stubborn with getting help.
I had this idea that I just had to do it myself. If I couldn’t figure it out by myself, I was never going to be okay in life if something bad actually happened. I was very, very naive about mental health and exactly how it works and how it can happen to anybody. But I was stuck in that place for way longer than I needed to because of that. It was a time where I didn’t think I’d ever be me again, the Emily that I always have been. I thought she was gone. There is no way she was coming back. There was no hope that it would ever change. I was in that place where I didn’t know what to do. I was helpless, so I tried to just bury it down. But when I numbed the bad stuff, I numbed the good stuff, too. So the love I felt, the compassion, the care, all of that, the happiness, joy, it went away as well. At the time, I had no idea what was going on.
So what changed everything, though, is we found a church close to our house, and we went back to church, and that was huge. Every Sunday, [we were] putting ourselves in the church. There was one message, specifically, that really spoke to me, where the pastor was sharing that everyone goes through hard things, but God will use it for a specific reason or purpose. And then he even mentioned people who are really independent might go through a hard time to realize you have to depend on God. There’s no other choice. I was like, “Wait a sec, he’s talking to me. Like, that is so me.” I’ve always been extremely independent. I want to do everything myself, put everything on my shoulders.
“Everyone goes through hard things, but God will use it for a specific reason or purpose.” – Emily Norton
And so after that, when the pastor shared that, I’m like, “Okay, I have to learn to depend on God. I’ve got to start praying again.” So I started praying and giving what was going on to God. And then I knew very clearly, like, I’m supposed to go get professional help. After I was able to give it to God, give the things that were weighing me down to Him, I knew I needed professional help. I [wasn’t] was going to get it through without medical help. So when I talked to a therapist and was put on medication, that changed things completely. With that, and the relationship with God and praying and continuing to get back to church, I was way more me than I ever have been. I was able to get back to that point that I never thought I would.
Building Family Through Adoption
Emily: From a very, very young age, I had something in my heart that I wanted to adopt kids.
When I was in high school, I started mentoring, and I met a girl named Whitley, who ended up being taken away from her mom and placed into foster care. That’s when my eyes were really opened to that, and I realized there are these kids in our community, our town, that have gone through such hard things, and don’t know they’re loved, don’t know they’re special, they don’t know who God is and the love that He has for them. And so I was hooked. I just knew I want to do this for the rest of my life, to be there for these kids. That’s my calling.
Chris: Eight months after we were married, we adopted nineteen-year-old Whitley, and she was our first foster child. And then after that, in February of 2019, we adopted our four other daughters, and they’re a sibling group of four.
When we were deciding about whether or not to become first foster parents and then also then accepting a larger placement to take on five kids, I thought at first, It’s just one child. I thought, There’s no way. How in the world can we do this? It just sounded really overwhelming. Am I capable of doing that? And then we said, “Yes,” and we realized, Okay, we can do this. And then we just kept saying, “Yes,” to a little bit more. Then, two kids sounded like a ton of kids, like way too much. But we did it. And we just kept figuring out a way to do three, four, five. We had seven at one point.
And that’s when I realized that you can realize your potential by just taking on more than what you think you can handle. That’s how anyone can figure out their true potential. And so I think we’re now realizing how much we can take on, and how much love that we have to give, and it’s just incredible to see the transformation that these kids take place in our home, just from being loved and cared about and helping them feel special and that they’re safe. It’s been really amazing to witness, and it makes it easy to take on more when you can see those kinds of transformations and see the relationships with God grow.
“You can realize your potential by just taking on more than what you think you can handle.” – Chris Norton
Emily: Right after we accepted the four girls, a sibling group of four girls, I saw Jesus Calling for Kids online, and that was one thing that I ordered right away. And seriously, it got us through a few super hard moments with our oldest. It pulled us through that time where she was struggling with something and was getting really upset and trying so hard to push me away. She’d been hurt by so many people. So she was doing everything in her might to push me away.
I honestly was at a point, like, I don’t know what I can do to help her feel better. And it hit me, We’ve got to open the devotional. And I was like, “All right, this page right here is gonna be for you.” I opened it up, and on that page, it said, “When you go through such a hard thing, God is holding you and He will strengthen you.”
And we both started crying, and then she let down her guard, and we were able to get through that moment. She was able to realize I’m here and God’s going to help her through this super hard time. That was honestly such a helpful tool when she first came, and we were getting to know each other and helping her feel safe and loved and all of that. [It helped us] get her into the word.
Then, we had two little kids placed with us, and they went back with their mom, who we stayed in contact with. She was getting out of a bad relationship, and she had to go into a women’s shelter with the kids. And that was one thing I brought to her was the Jesus Calling devotional. She would tell me the next day, “I couldn’t sleep last night, so I was reading the devotional and this really hit me.” And then she’d be ready to get to work the next day to try to find a job again, and see what she needs to do for her kids, and it helped her know she’s not alone, that God’s going to pull her through this time, even though it’s so hard. It’s been super helpful in certain moments, all those Jesus Calling books.
“I’m going to do my part, but the rest is up to You.”
Emily: Opening our home to kids who are in situations through no fault of their own has absolutely changed our lives. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done. It brings joy to our lives, and it just feels like exactly what we’re supposed to be doing.
[We love] to be able to just have a kid who is in this dark, dark time and they feel alone, they’ve been ripped away from everything they’ve ever known. And then they’re placed into our home, and we’re able to be that person that loves them and cares about them and stays there when they tried pushing us away and helps them know we’re not going anywhere. We are here and we’re going to be here. We love you, and we’re going to get through this together. Just helping [our kids] heal from the things that they have gone through, there’s nothing greater for us.
“Helping [our kids] heal from the things that they have gone through, there’s nothing greater for us.” – Emily Norton, on building her family through adoption
When I was trying to help these kids when I was younger, I would try to take the weight on my shoulders, and I learned I have to surrender it to God. There are too many times in the past, and it happens to me, where I’ll put things on my shoulders that are not meant to be there, and it weighs me down. And I have to get down on my knees and surrender to God. I say, “God, I can’t carry this. It’s Yours. I’m going to do my part, but I know that the rest is up to You.” That’s where we’ve been able to really see the impact when we just focus on what we feel like God’s calling us to do.
Narrator: To learn more about Chris and Emily’s story, check out their book The Seven Longest Yards, available at your favorite book retailer today.
If you’d like to hear more stories of restoration, check out our interview with author and activist Cyntoia Brown-Long.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast, we talk with the pastor and former NFL player Miles McPherson. When we talked with Miles, he shared how important it is to remember in our world that every single person is created in the image of God—and why it’s important to remember that every person we meet is our neighbor.
Miles McPherson: You know, the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, and soul. The second is just like it, to love your neighbor as yourself. So I am biblically obligated to love you as my neighbor. The Good Samaritan story tells us that everybody is my neighbor, so I have to love you as my neighbor, and I have to love you as myself. But if I rename you something less than neighbor, I don’t need to love you. You actually give yourself permission to allow them to be mistreated. And so the first thing you can do is say, “That’s my neighbor.”
Narrator: Do you love hearing these stories of faith weekly from people like you whose lives have been changed by a closer walk with God? Then be sure to subscribe to the Jesus Calling: Stories of Faith Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you like what you’re hearing, leave us a review so that we can reach others with these inspirational stories. And, you can also see these interviews on video as part of our original web series with a new interview premiering every other Sunday on Facebook Live. Find previously broadcasted interviews on our Youtube channel, on IGTV, or on jesuscalling.com/media/video.