Forgiveness…A weighty thing…

 

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Not long ago, I came face to face with the perpetrator of a crime against an acquaintance of mine. This man had taken part in a particular type of crime against an underage girl.  Because of his actions, her life and ability to trust had been shattered.  When I first found out the identity of the perpetrator(s), I was deeply hurt and angered.  It comforted me somewhat to know that the offender(s) were duly chastised, and asked to not remain in their patriarchal vicinity (which was the girl’s sphere of protection).  In the days that followed learning of their identities, I grieved for her, for the loss of trust she had suffered, the shattering of her innocence, the effect on her future relationships that had ensued, and the failures of authorities to protect her properly.  However, I also ached for reconciliation. I cried out to God for the perpetrator(s) to see the catastrophic damage that they had done to a precious life, and that they would humbly repent and communicate that to their victim. I longed for them to help her find resolution, for these men to face up to their actions and seek forgiveness, without making any justification. My heart wept for some redemption to come up out of the ashes.

prayingandcrying                                           heldinhisarms-hedriesmytears

Fast-forward to the more current moment, which prompted this post.  One evening, not too long ago, I came face-to-face with one of the perpetrators of this crime against my friend.  I wanted to be angry.  I had previously been friends with him and his wife. My emotions surged in a confusing whirlpool. Should I act like there is no change between us?  It was not a crime done to ME, and it WAS long ago. Or should I, in loyalty to my friend’s pain, ignore this man?  Or, should I speak directly to him, ask the all-encompassing “How could you?”, and find out whether there was repentance or pride ruling him now?

Later on that same evening, I was on the phone with my Dad…I shared a glimpse of what I was feeling.  I will never forget his words: “It is not only the victim who needs our compassion. Christ also died for the perpetrator.”   Christ also died for the perpetrator?!  How can that be?  What then are we to feel? Does the wrong they did not matter at all?!  And, in that moment, I realized that it is true, the wrong they did CANNOT be allowed to stand between me and my relationship with Christ.  If I am judging them, am I not raising myself up in PRIDE?  And am I not directly commanded “Do not judge, or YOU will be judged”, in Romans 2:1?  And, if Christ died for me, and all my many sins (which thankfully have not been exposed to everyone’s view), then do I have any right at all to refuse forgiveness to another?

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This does not mean that their sin was not utterly sinful, horribly damaging, and an irreparable crime against a precious life.  It simply means that I, in my frail humanity and limited viewpoint, have NO RIGHT to judge their heart and life before God.

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My heart was also encouraged and comforted when I heard this individual speak… He mentioned a great breaking time period in his life, and in his interactions over the period of time that I was with him and his wife, I sensed a deeper humility and seriousness than I had known him to have previously. This comforted my heart, as I felt that that was what my heart had been seeking – to know that he had accepted chastisement and been changed by it.  My prayer had been answered.  I have no way of knowing whether he ever formally apologized to my friend, but that is not my business, and I must leave it up to God. I have learned, it is not my place to judge, but God’s. And, if I do not forgive, how then can I myself be forgiven?  We all are at an even place…we all are in desperate need of grace.  I still ache for the pain that was caused in all of their lives, but I now know that my responsibility is not only to lift up the fallen who are victims, but also, to show love and genuine kindness to those (former perpetrators) who have repented.  And as I walk on and continue letting it go, I also continue to pray for all parties involved, both victim, AND, perpetrator.    Indeed, it is true: “Christ died also for the perpetrator.”

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Everyone is Lonely

If you’re within a dozen yards of me at some point in your life, you will probably be turned into a social experiment. I am basically a mad scientist, but without the science. This past week, I’ve …

Source: Everyone is Lonely

PS  This is how “I” want to be known, as well. Not by my impatience to share MY story or MY opinion, but by my desire to know others, to love others, and to LAY DOWN MY LIFE for others. I want to be a welcoming haven, where people feel safe enough to bring their uglinesses, burdens, sorrows, fears, and pains. If people think I’m perfect, then why would they want to share their imperfections with me?!  If people think I’m stuck on talking about myself, then why would they seek me out as a listening ear in their time of need?! And if people think I’m super needy and a desperate attention-seeker, then why would they think I might have an answer for them? They’d probably run the opposite way in terror, hoping I don’t seek THEM out as a listening ear!  Lord, help me to be a haven of rest, a listening ear, and a welcoming heart of YOUR kindness to those who You send my way… :’)   -> CrazyForGrace <><

Struggles of the ENFP Christian

“Being both a Christian, and an ENFP, I found this blog post by JarsOfKlay interesting, and, for the most part, relatable. Consistency in the mundane can be a real struggle for me, and imagining ideal situations can prompt discontentment and procrastination… I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subjects below…After you have taken the Myers-Briggs test, of course! 😉😂😂”  -> CrazyForGrace <><

 

“Struggles of the ENFP Christian”

I have taken the Myers-Briggs personality test a couple of times, and the personality that describes me accurately is the ENFP. The Myers-Briggs test basically tells you aspects of your personality…

Source: Struggles of the ENFP Christian.

An Open Letter to the Girl in the Maxi Skirt and Chacos.

THIS is what the Christian life is about – letting the brokenness of this world break you, yet seeing the overwhelming beauty in it, and His fingerprints of love in even the most decrepit of corners. Jumping into that flow, and being a part of His story as He transforms brokenness into beauty – THAT is what I want for this year.

Those Sweet Bare Feet

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Hey you,

I have seen you in the airport on several occasions.  I watched you pull out your passport with trembling hands as your feet meet foreign land for the first time. I see you lean in to understand the lilting accent of the immigration officer. Maybe we have met eyes and smiled at each other as we walked those red dirt roads. I can see the newness in your heart and the adventure in your eyes, this traveling the world to meet the poverty and the broken is all unfamiliar to you.

But I hope it seeps into your soul and crashes your life like a hurricane leaves debris and the need for a brand new beginning.  My prayer for you is that in this journey, you will never go back to the girl googling photographs of Africa, because you have tasted the bitterness of poverty and all the destruction…

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Batman

For all you Batman fans out there…especially those who like to think a bit deeper about life….
The guy who wrote this is a friend of mine, a normal guy, with some extraordinarily deep perspectives on life – and there’s more where this post came from, check it out! 🙂

Christian Not Grey

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The Dark Knight is one of my favorite characters ever to pop up in DC Universe.  I can’t say that I’m an avid comic book reader, but I’ve been watching the cartoons, television shows, and movies since I was a little boy.  The fictional Bruce Wayne went through some amazingly horrific times as a child to become the Caped Crusader.  And though these trials were all figments of many writers’ gifted imaginations, we all can relate and connect to them on a personal level.

In Batman Begins, as he’s exploring the vast property of Wayne Manor, young Bruce falls down into a deep, dark well and breaks something in his leg.  While being hoisted out by his father, bats go flying everywhere, surrounding Bruce in even greater darkness and calamity.  This event is seared into his subconscious so that every time he sees a bat, the same terror and dread Bruce…

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When life isn’t at all what you expected…A song

“When all you want to do…”

When all you want to do is cry your heart out

when all your tongue can say is Why

When the only thing that matters

is was everything worth it

When all seems to be different

than you planned

When the ones that you hold dearest

have scattered far and wide

when the dreams you used to share

you now must keep inside

when there’s a gauzy film hiding the future

and shattered is the beauty of the past…

Ohhhh

Ohh, Oooohh

My heart will cry

My mind will wonder

My lips will flutter

without answers in the dark

My faith may falter

though I hold onto Your hand

But when I wonder, when I weep

When my heart breaks for those I love

When I fall under the waves of doubt

when I cannot see the purpose out

I need You.

I nee-eed You.

Give me Your presence, it’s the only thing I’ve got

Embrace me tight, lest I fall into the pit

The only thing I want

is a long gaze into your eyes

to have you hold me tight

and tell me

no matter what

everything’s gonna be alright

All I want is for my life to count

all I want is to know it’s not in vain

that the path I chose

I didn’t choose in vain

all I want is to love without a stain

to give my all, and not care if there is pain

to give real life for others’ gain

Oh, hold me tight

Sweet Jesus

Hold me now

-HP, 3.23.2015

Ah…how I love WORDS!

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
~ Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream ~
One could say that WORDS do the same for ideas…they give mere airy thoughts “a local habitation and a name”.
A speaker I greatly respect (P T Schaller) has said before that words are the shells for ideas. They are not the ideas, but simply a way to represent the thought that lies behind the words.
In the same way, the Bible is like the words, it is in a sense, a shell. Now, some of you may be wondering, “Has she gone heretical upon us?!”. Have no fear, I have not. 🙂  Here is what I mean by the Bible being like a shell.
In the same way that a word represents a real-life object, so also the written Scriptures represent a real-live person.   In the same way that a phrase of language represents a larger idea, so also a verse or passage represents part of the thought-pattern of an individual.  This concept may apply in many scenarios of life; here it relates to the relationship between the Book and the Author.   The Bible has substance in and of itself, but only when it is made alive by what? You guessed it – A Person!  The shell of WORDS has LIFE breathed into them and they become SUBSTANCE. Amazing, no?!?
I just had to share that thought..I found it too fascinating to keep to myself. 🙂