Several years ago Mitch Albom, one of my favorite writers, came out with a book called “The Five People You’ll Meet in Heaven.” It was wildly successful, so much so that it was turned into a movie. Great work, great imagination, I loved it.
Since then I’ve also thought about the five people you meet, not in heaven, but on the way to heaven.
Being from the South, we have a way of hiding our true condition. When we meet people we ask them, “How are you doing?” And the polite response is, “I’m fine. How are you?” Then you respond, “I’m doing fine as well.” And then you go on. This would be ok if it were true. But let’s face it. It’s not.
So here are the five people you meet every day. They are around you, they work with you, and for you. They are in your family. You’re even one of them.
- First, there’s the broken. These are the people who have kind of a sad gaze because life has broken their spirit. Their dreams are broken. Oftentimes their marriages are broken. Relationships they thought would last a lifetime become broken. We often say someone is suffering from a broken heart. These are the people who need other people to come up close to them and help them see the good that can come out of the pain.
- The second kind of person you meet are the beat-up. These are the people who have been in the fight, but are just weary. We can see how they truly were emotionally. Many of them will have a cast on their arm, splints on their legs. They’ll be using a walking cane or crutches. They’ll have a patch over their eye. They’ve been beat up by life. They’re still swinging, but they are injured. And if they don’t find a way to get up again, they may just be a casualty.
- The third kind of person are the bored. These are the people it’s hard to feel sorry for, or to conjure up any compassion. These are the people who have reached their goals, you know them. They are the people for whom life seems to come easy. They’ve reached their dreams, they make a lot of money, live in big houses, have seemingly fine families and great lives. These are the people who have succeeded in every way in life except the way that truly matters. They see their achievements as hollow, shallow, and non-fulfilling. Their houses and cars are just things to be fed with more money. They see their blessings as burdens and their privileges as complications.
- The fourth kind of person you meet are the betrayed. These are the people who no longer trust people. They’ve been thrown under the bus by the very people who promised they would have their back for the rest of their life. They understand that people get betrayed. They just never thought it would be them.
- The fifth kind of person you meet on the way to heaven are the healers. These are the people who have been the broken, the bruised, the beat-up, the bored, and the betrayed. They have found their healing in the sweet glow of God’s mercy. They’ve understood who they are in Christ. They know that they are loved as they are, not as they ought to be. They’ve embraced their identity and the promises that come along with it. They are sons and daughters of God who understand that nothing bad can happen to them that wasn’t intended for good by their Heavenly Father. They affirm that no one can take from them or keep from them what God wants for them. They are the healers.
The question is, which are you?