What Story Are You Telling Yourself?: A Message From Executive Director Chris Purnell

Chris Purnell

Chris Purnell


When I’m anxious, I try to look at what story I’m telling myself. For instance, when I’m deeply worried about finances, I’m telling myself a story that God does not provide and that it all rides on me and my performance.

In other words, I’m telling myself a false story.

We can live a story that says we are all alone, or a story that says we must keep all of our resources for ourselves, or a story that says to circle the wagons and stick with our tribes because the world is a dangerous place.

But God has given us a better story. The Bible tells us one that is filled with the beauty of God’s presence in the midst of the burdens of human existence. It’s a story that tells us that God has made us in his image and for a purpose. A purpose frustrated by sin and death, yes—but that is why we have him to rescue us from such powers and to restore things to their rightful place.

And the wonder of this is that God calls us to participate in the work that he is doing. That’s what’s happening as God works with people throughout history—he is calling each of them, he is calling each of us, to participate in his cosmic work of restoration and redemption. We are ambassadors of his reconciliation with humanity.  

But, we get the job description wrong all the time. Our performance reviews are pretty terrible. In Psalm 82, God tells the rulers of that day: “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (vv. 3-4) Instead of defending the marginalized, the powerful abused them. Instead of looking out for the forgotten, they pushed them further out of their minds.

This is what the world did to Jesus, God-in-the-flesh. Jesus was the victim of the greatest injustice in human history and, miraculously, that sacrificial act set a different story in motion. Now, the victimizers can come close to the God of the universe—the one who demands justice—and be empowered to do justice for others. Now, the unjust can be made right so that they can make things right.

This is what we hope to do in our small way at the Clinic. When the asylum-seeker comes in, we humbly but zealously advocate for them; when the victim of domestic violence arrives, we walk alongside, seeking protection for them and their children; when the person wanting an expungement finds us, we gladly celebrate their freedom from the past and ability to move forward with their lives.

God sacrificed everything for us and he calls us to sacrifice for others. This is the joyful, beautiful, hard, and tear-stained story we walk in—and we pray that you will walk alongside us as well.

Join us at our Justice for All Gala on October 3 at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. Come and see more of the bigger story that we all inhabit. And may you be touched by the just God who calls us to do justice.

Until justice and peace embrace,

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To learn more or to register for Justice for All Gala tickets, please visit justiceforallgala.org.

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