Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day Six

Today James and I gave to a close member of his family in need.  And when I say need, I mean need in the Jesus sense.  We gave money and time, and even though we left knowing we did what we could, I walked away with a heavy heart.  Addiction is a stubborn bitch.

It wasn't until I came to know Christ in a personal way that I understood what He and various others in the Bible meant when they talked of the poor.  There are poor people who are rich in spirit, just happy to have what little they have, grateful for everything God has already given them.  And then, there are the lost, the poor in spirit.  People who want so desperately to be better people, but don't know how.  They're so damaged from their past, or so ashamed of things they've done or are doing that they give up, or are overwhelmed at the thought of trying to straighten out.  They're lost.  They don't know what to do or where to go, so they just keep doing what they're doing.  I've been there.

One of the definitions of the word "lost" in www.dictionary.com is "bewildered as to place, direction, etc.", and it's a feeling I know all too well.  The tossing and turning, wondering what the heck the purpose of my life was, frustrated because nothing could quench the unrest in me.  I didn't know where to go, what to do or who to talk to.  I wasn't perfect so it never occurred to me that I would fit into a Christian church.  I have family members who are Christians and they are the stereotypical, judgmental, holier than thou snots that give so many of us a bad name.  I never felt welcome with them, but I did always feel judged and less of a person around them.

When faced with these types of people, the holier than thou that scoffed at people who aren't outwardly perfect in life, Jesus told them a story about a man who loses his son to love of money and selfishness.  So, he lets his son go.  The boy spends all his money on prostitutes, food and booze.  Then a famine hits and he has nothing, and no one will help him.  No food, no money, no family, no friends, no love.  He wants to go back home but is afraid he'll be rejected and laughed at.  But since it's the only place he knows, he decides to go back home and offer to work for his father as a servant because he's so ashamed of what he did and doesn't think he's worthy of even being called "son" by his father.  Head hung low, he makes his way home.  His dad sees him walking all sad and pathetic from a distance and runs to him.  The son apologizes as his dad's kissing him and tells him he isn't worthy of being called his son.  The dad ignores him and calls his servants to bring his son clothes and sandals, and to beat all, kill a fat cow so they can throw a welcome home party for him (Luke 15:11-32).

That's how God works.  It took me a long time to understand that parable. I always disagreed with the dad's reaction. I don't now because I know the dad in the parable represents God.  I thought that if I was the dad I'd be all, HA HA! I win!  I was right! Told you so!  But that's because my dad is a very told-you-so person, and our parents are supposed to model Christ for us.  Unfortunately, we screw it up a lot.  But not Him.  He throws a big freaking party when someone lost, beat up and weary finds their way home to Him.  And believe you me, it is the best party everrrrrRomans 8:1 tells us there is no condemnation in Christ. 

con·demn [kuhn-dem] verb (used with object)  
1. to express an unfavorable or adverse judgment on; indicate strong disapproval of; censure.
2. to pronounce to be guilty; sentence to punishment: to condemn a murderer to life imprisonment.