It’s been a while since I posted about the goings-on of our life….it’s funny how the process of putting the things swirling in my head into writing happens. Sometimes I get bogged down by the idea that I really have nothing of value to say, and then I remember that this blog was started as a way for me to express my thoughts and flesh them out for…myself. And hopefully, I have glorified God and shared uplifting or funny things along the way. I am thankful for my handful of faithful readers. Thanks to those of you who have asked where I have been.
I have had several ideas about topics upon which I wanted to write over the last two months. Really, so much has happened. And I want to share them all with you. Lately, though, a situation not in my immediate circle of life has brought a truth to the forefront of my thoughts. As I have prayed for a family I don’t even know, and as I have heard minimal details from one related to that family, as I have heard the toll it is taking on the parents of one of the affected people, my heart has been captured and God has chosen to wake me in the middle of the night to pray for them.
Details are not important; but a few thoughts have crystallized so clearly for me. First, not everyone who sees people making dreadful, life-altering decisions sees the hurting people behind those decisions. I used to be that self-righteous, smugly satisfied Christian who sat back and judged everyone else for the decisions that they or their children made. I used the criteria of the “outward rightness” of my family (no pressure there, kids!) as the measuring stick of how I judged others. If that makes you sick, rest assured, it makes me sick, too. Smug self-righteous judging of others is as far from Jesus as you can be.
I am not sure when the switch happened for me; I suspect it was a slow change as God healed my brokenness and showed me my sinful attitudes. Honestly, I suspect that the change is not yet complete, for the longer I walk healed in Him, the more I see brokenness, and there are times when it seems so completely overwhelming. I do know that it is easier for me to see hurting people and want to love them now. The default used to be to judge the person because of the behavior. Sometimes behavior does need to be judged; more often now, I can love the person in spite of what he or she does.
It is so hard when you see a loved one hurting, and when you see that the person you love has put himself or herself in a situation of being used. We mothers ache over the hurts of our children, and yet we have not the right nor the ability to dictate what our children must choose. In the end, our children will have to stand accountable for their own choices, whether good or bad, whether happy or sad.
I remember a time when Lindy was younger. She had befriended a girl about her own age who did not have the autonomy that Lindy had. Lindy had taken to providing transportation for this friend, and it looked to me like a very one-sided friendship. One day I felt I needed to speak to Lindy about it. I told her I was concerned that she was being used. She acknowledged that she was indeed being used, but then she said to me, “I am her only friend. I am willing to be used if it means I can minister to her now.” Lindy had walked in with her eyes wide open and saw it as a ministry opportunity. Sometimes our own friendships are about ministry…why should it be any different for our children?
Sometimes a situation arises when it seems our children are being taken advantage of without their understanding of the situation….or that they are in a hopeless situation with no obvious way out. I remember another time when our oldest son, cut off from his family because of ruinous choices he had made, was homeless. Another mother sees her child in a hopeless situation…trapped by his choices and his responsibilities. Another mother, this a good friend, sees her son making wrong choices, suffering the consequences, and continuing down the path of wrong choices. Sometimes the suffering and cycles of depravity are so overwhelming. What is a mother to do?
It is tempting to look at all the people “harming” our adult children and only see their sin, their “wrongness” for our child. And if I am honest, sometimes all I have seen in my own children is their sin. I am learning how to look beyond the wrongness and see the hurting person behind disastrous choices. That is not to say that we can excuse sin. We cannot. Jesus didn’t. But neither did he condemn those hurting people who came to him. He forgave them. So often the healing was simply a by-product of the forgiveness.
I love the song Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath. It reminds me that we live in a broken world, a world affected by humanity’s fall from perfection into sin, surrounded by people affected by our fall from perfection into sin. Those of us who have Jesus have no standing to claim except the finished work of Christ. I cannot claim sinlessness, I cannot claim perfection in or of myself. I can only claim that I am a great sinner saved by a great savior. My choice is to love other people, to see beyond the surface, which, let’s face it, is often ugly.
Shame wears many faces…and sometimes the most blatant sinner is wallowing in the muck of shame with no real knowledge that Jesus is the way out. If the goodness of Christ working through me can help one person to see the Redemption that God has for them, then loving a hundred sinful, broken people is worth it. Jesus told the parable of leaving the 99 sheep to find the one that was lost. Abraham pleaded with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of just 10 righteous people. God is merciful…his ultimate mercy displayed when he took our sin and shame and laid it on his willing son. Beholding the goodness of my savior, how do I dare not try to love the unlovable when I, the once unlovable, have been so very loved? I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8), and I want to share.