In the early years, Night Ministry documents stated that the theological basis for its work was “to be the presence of Christ in the city at night.” We are not “Christ bearers to the world,” dispensing a little of the Christ here and a little over there as whimsy or personal need might impose. Instead, we represent “the presence of the Christian Church in the city at night,” witnessing to the fact that the Church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, cares about people where they are, not where she thinks she might like them to be. Our real task is to discover where Christ is already present in the world (in the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner) and to serve that Christ as best we can. (Biblical reference: Matthew 25:31-46)
As part of the training of our Crisis Line Counselors, we state: “To be a Christian is to accept the fact that you are accepted, and to begin to live as though that were so.” This means:
You are set free to be nobody but yourself.
You are not called to be the Savior of the world. That has already been done. (John 3:16) You are not even called to give advice or have expectations for another person's life. As a representative of the Body of Christ, the Church, you are called to offer alternatives and help others to live with their choices and realize and celebrate new possibilities.
You are set free from judgments.
That means even judging yourself. Besides, if Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world, why should you? (John 3:17) It means that you are able to accept others with all of their frailties and foible because mirrored in their lives, you see your own.
You are set free from guilt.
As a Christian, God asks nothing more of you than to be the person you were created to be. That is something other, however, than “giving it your best shot.” By your baptism you were empowered by the Holy Spirit to appropriate this gift – becoming yourself. Ultimately, you are responsible only for your own decisions, though life in community (the Church) can modify that. So, do the best you know how, and trust in God when your vision is cloudy. It's a life-long process, but worth every minute of the trip.