It’s easy to reduce people to walking trees.
But she’s not just a mean girl who spreads nasty sexual rumors about others.
She’s a maladapted splintered soul who was molested by her uncle at the age of four.
He’s not just a hopeless stoner who skips school to smoke and fight club with his buddies.
He’s a directionless fatherless son trying to take care of a mother struggling with meth addiction.
I recently read about a morbid scandal in California that included explicit sexual acts. At a Lutheran preschool. Between four-year olds. My heart hemorrhaged at that news.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to home school my sons forever and a day. Shelter them from the nasty asteroids of the world and demons who live in children of men. We could live on the fringes of town with the doomsday preppers, cursing the darkness while drinking my pet goat’s milk and storing up an arsenal of Walking Dead level weaponry. Safe from the stains of fellow humanity.
But it’s hard to reach people with your back turned to them.
It’s easier to cry “anathema” from a proud hill than enter uncomfortably into the valley that’s cursed. Only armed with the counter intuitive swords of intercessory prayer, sacrificial love, and words of peace.
The world’s default is darkness. And we have the only illumination that will quell it.
God never called us to safety. He called us to salt and light living, but not safety. Even in a sanitized bubble existence, germs and cancer can reach us there. Old age will reach us there. The question then is not how or when we die, but what we die for.
We’re all given a fleeting vapor to work with.
I’ll do my God-given best to protect my sons from the wiles of the world; but they’ll have to jump from the nest soon enough. Wherever they land I pray they will each take ownership of their own cross. That they will work out the implications of being in, but not of, a world that is both lethal and beautiful. Perilous and precious. That it would be done with hard thinking and risky living.
In the process maybe they’ll learn how to live well and die well. The hardest part is the simplicity of “just living.”
It’s a process their daddy hasn’t quite figured out yet.
And I pray they grow to see all people as precious souls not stone facades. Bruised, neglected, twisted, torn, souls. That they’d be better than their daddy in that regard. That they’d see their overwhelming need to receive and grant this indiscriminate grace.
A living grace found in one person:
Jesus. Only Jesus. Just Jesus.