The news was rough this week, Friends.
The stories being reported just keep getting worse. Most days I can’t even stomach
watching reading the news. One of the many highlights lowlights this week was the church hidden-camera scandal. (Sigh.)
I read an article reporting driving deaths linked to marijuana doubled in Washington state. (And legalizing the drug serves what purpose?!?)
I can’t even begin to process the horrific videos surfacing about Planned Parenthood. (And the extremely sad reality that the stories are being buried in the media. All for a Lamborghini.) I just can’t comprehend the ‘why.’ Especially after losing my twins 2 years ago. (I am so very thankful this life is not the end.)
Then, of course there are the countless articles (& tweets) about people who used an online ‘service’ to
secretly make their fantasies come true publicly destroy their marriages and lives.
So much I could say. But really, the bottom line is we are all broken and wounded people, desperately in need of grace.
When I was 18, I made a big mistake in my personal life. And, because I was working for a church, I lost my job.
Many MANY people found out. Gossip spread like wildfire. (And this was before the internet.)
I was humiliated on so many levels.
All over a boy I thought could heal my broken heart. I was so wounded and naive back then. Why in the world I thought a boy—who was just as wounded and human as I—could save me, I will never know.
Spoiler alert: Only Jesus can heal our hearts and save us from ourselves—and this broken world we live in. (It sounds trite, I know. Until you experience True Grace.)
I knew of Jesus, but I didn’t really know Him.
He was still hanging up on the cross behind the altar of my church. It took years before I finally understood His sacrificial love for me and the grace He died to give me.
Side note: it also took lots of intense counseling to recover from that particular experience…as well as the years of abuse and trauma leading up to it.
It’s never as clear-cut as it appears on the outside, is it? We would all do well to remember that when those judgmental thoughts pop into our heads. There is always more to the story than we could ever imagine.
Gary Morland reminded me in a podcast I listened to today, “No one deserves forgiveness. That’s what grace is for.”
All the people on those reports leaked to the public have made grievous mistakes. Their spouses and their children have been deeply wounded by their choices and actions.
I know what it’s like to have people shatter my trust through their choices and actions. It’s awful. Really, really awful.
Some of those people have continued in their woundedness. They self-medicate their pain with addictions that feed their flesh. It’s not my place to judge. I’ve been there. (Sure, the details were different. But, regardless of our age or how we choose to act out, we are all human. And, sin is sin.)
It’s an incredibly empty and lonely place to live without hope.
Others in my life have courageously admitted their mistakes and taken ownership for their heart issues. They have allowed God to pour His love and healing power into their lives. They have chosen to do the hard work and seek healing. Their lives (and their families) have been forever changed. Their struggles are real and their days are hard. But, they press on and press through.
Life is a journey. Faith is a journey.
If we had it all figured out, we wouldn’t need each other. And, we most certainly wouldn’t need Jesus.
My purpose in writing this is not to justify the actions of those caught up in the latest scandals. Their choices were wrong and people were hurt. It’s up to each of them to decide whether they are going to get help—or—continue down the destructive paths they are on.
It’s really easy for us to judge each other, isn’t it?
The reality, however, is not one of us is perfect. Not one of us has life figured out.
Every single one of us has made mistakes. We’ve sinned. We’ve hurt others. And, we’ve hurt ourselves.
Trust me, it’s absolutely humiliating to have your private life broadcast to the world.
Instead of throwing stones of judgement, wouldn’t it be better to pray for our brothers and sisters? Pray they have hit their rock bottom and reached the end of themselves. Pray they would come to know the true freedom Christ died to give us, rather than the bondage brought about by empty religion.
It’s not our job to condemn each other. I repeat, it’s NOT our job to condemn each other. When we do, we become part of the problem. Our actions (and words) condemn us.
Rest assured though, we always reap what we sow. While forgiveness and grace are always available to us, there are always consequences for our actions.
That grace we so desperately need for ourselves? Let’s pray that for each other. There’s more than enough to go around for all of us.
I’ll admit, some days I forget the path I’ve walked. Judgmental thoughts rise up and I’m tempted to point fingers along with the rest of the world.
I’m still (very much) a work in process. I’m thankful when I remember the grace that has been so extravagantly showered upon me. And, I am very thankful I’m not the girl I was 27 years ago. Because, honestly, without God’s saving grace, I would not be alive today.
So, yeah. This wasn’t exactly the post I set out to write. Hadn’t planned to share so vulnerably about my past transgressions. But, isn’t this where true healing and freedom begins?
When we stop judging each other and admit our own failings, we bring life to each other.
And, with everything we are hearing about in the news, wouldn’t you agree, the world has experienced enough darkness and death?
I’m not proud of my past sins. But, because of God’s grace and redemption, I’m no longer ashamed of my past.
P.S. Friend, if you are stuck in sin, living a double-life, hurting others, or hurting yourself, please don’t wait until someone discovers your secrets. Today is your day to come clean. Grace is available to all of us. We never know what tomorrow will bring. So how about taking that first step towards freedom today? You, my sweet Friend, are loved.
Photo Credit: Amy Jo Ivey / Pearl District, Portland, OR / June ’15