Category Archives: grace

We know what injustice looks like.

With the verdict out on Trayvon Martin’s case, and a man walking free, there’s a cry for Justice. Race is powerful in today’s society, whether we choose to see it or not.  As an Asian American whose only language is English, I’ve had my AP English teachers ask me if English was my first language, I’ve had an elderly black woman ask where I’m from–no really, where are you from?, I’ve had people shout out “That’s how we do things in America!” as I’m crossing the street (whatever that even means…), and I’ve seen the news broadcast just last week that claimed the pilots of the crashed Asiana flight were “Ho Lee Fuk”, “Wi Tu Low”, and “Bang Ding Ow”.  Really, America?  You decide that a plane crash is an appropriate time to make a racist joke out of Asian names on broadcast television (as if there were ANY appropriate time for such behavior)?

But worse than that, an unarmed (though apparently they claim the sidewalk is a weapon now…) teenage boy is dead.  And his killer walks free.  It’s true that the media loves to sensationalize, and no one knows exactly what happened except for Trayvon and George Zimmerman, but nevertheless, we know the system is huge and broken. So what now? What can we do?

This morning I heard a recounting of Dr. John Perkins’ talk at Reed College. He spoke about growing up black in Mississippi, and wanting to seek vengeance after his war vet brother was shot and killed by white police men at a movie theater. He spoke of being forced by his family to flee to California before his actions made him another “dead Perkins”. He spoke too, of finding faith through his son, and returning to Mississippi, not for violent vengeance, but to seek civil rights.

During one of his demonstrations, his students were arrested and carted away to the most racist county in the state.  They called him, and he answered.  When he arrived, Dr. Perkins, defenseless, was thrown into a police station’s windowless back room and beaten within an inch of his life. As they struck him again and again, he suffered a heart attack, and he watched his own blood spray and splatter the walls.

But “as I lay there at the feet of those huge, white police officers, I looked up into their faces…twisted with anger…immediately my heart was filled with compassion. Seeing them, all I could think was, “Dear Jesus, what pain these men must have endured in their lives to feel such hatred. Have mercy on them.”

I teared up when I heard the verdict, and I cried when I heard this story.  We know what injustice looks like.  Our hearts ache and cry out for wrongs to be punished, because we know that there is a cost for brokenness, and we know that somehow, it must be paid.

But as I listened to the story of Dr. Perkins, his blood on the walls, and a prayer on his lips, I immediately thought of another man, beaten, flogged, ridiculed, who also prayed for those who persecuted him, asking the Lord for their forgiveness, because they knew not what the did.  And it was for him that I truly cried.  To speak forgiveness for those who seek your life is radical.  To choose to love and have compassion on them who spare no whip and grant no mercy on you is unheard of.

We know what injustice looks like.  Our hearts ache and cry out for wrongs to be punished, because we know that there is a cost for brokenness, and we know that somehow, it must be paid.  And this, Jesus, was the ultimate injustice.  The innocent being found guilty, while the offenders walk free. While we walk free.  

The story wasn’t over yet.  “There is no hope,” Dr. Perkins continued. “There is no hope [for our broken communities], apart from the reconciling work of Jesus Christ.” Finally, when he was done speaking, the students gave him a standing ovation.

What can we do? Stand up for ‪#‎Justice‬ and strive for ‪#‎Reconciliation‬ , even when it’s your blood on the walls. 

He has showed you, o man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

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The Joy of Wandering in the Wilderness

I read 1 Kings 19 this morning, and I just…there’s so much in here.

1 KINGS 18

Elijah  comes to Israel, where the king has done great evil in the eyes of God, and has therefore led the nation astray.  I got the sense that the sins of the people lie with the people, but also on the king.  And Elijah asks the people:  “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.”  Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal–each will put forth a sacrifice on the altars, and whoever is the true God will bring down fire to consume the sacrifice.  So the prophets of Baal pray all morning and into the afternoon, and they wail and they cut themselves that their god might hear them, but nothing happens.  Elijah, after them, takes four cisterns full of water and pours them over the sacrifice–not once, not twice, but THREE times, so much water that it’s flooding and pooling around the sacrifice.  And he calls out to God, and immediately fire rains down and consumes the water and the sacrifice, and all the people believe.  So they round up the prophets of Baal and put them to death.

How long will you waver between two opinions?? Elijah asks them.  This really hit home for me, as I’ve been struggling to find joy in obedience to the Lord.  He has asked me to end a dating relationship that I’ve been in for six months (my first, at the age of 26 years old), with a God-fearing man who meditates on scripture, writes songs based on the psalms, and respects me and sees me as a daughter of the King, and not as a prize to be gained or an object to be used.  This relationship has grown and stretched me in the Lord in so many ways, and he has said that it’s as iron sharpens iron.  But perhaps nothing in our relationship has grown me as much as obeying the Lord and choosing to (attempt) to let go.  It’s been two months now, and sometimes, there are still pain and tears when I think about the loss, and it’s a pain unlike that I’ve felt before. (will be a post in itself)

And yet in this, God convicted me on Sunday that he requires obedience not just in deed, but obedience in attitudes of the heart.  We have ended things, we are no longer talking about marriage, or meeting up one on one, or once a week.  We no longer text, or call, we hardly talk, really.  But I have not been glad to obey God in this, I’ve only felt sorrow and have even chosen to rub salt in my own wounds by reminiscing and allowing myself to think about him.  But God is calling me to be joyful in my obedience, to not just want to obey, but to be glad to follow him.  What kind of relationship is it if you just drag your feet through the motions, kicking the curb and dawdling like a petulant child?  Joy is independent of circumstances.  Happiness is based on what happens, events.  But joy, true joy from the Lord, is everlasting. He gives us joy in our poverty, in our afflictions, in the aching of our hearts, to know that He alone is enough, and He is with us always.  How long will I be obedient in action, but long for God to change his mind in my heart?  Ah, it’s truly painful.

1 KINGS 19

So in 1 Kings 19, Elijah gets word that the king and his wife want to put him to death for killing all of their prophets.  So Elijah, this man of God who just called on God to burn a soaking sacrifice, who is known for being so godly that death never touches him, and he rides up to heaven in a chariot of fire, this man, flees.  He runs away.  Once he reaches a large town, he leaves his servant there and continues to run into the wilderness.

He fears for his life, and lies down in the wilderness, asking for God to take his life before Jezebel reaches him.  He fears dying at the hands of man.

Instead, an angel feeds him, twice, saying “Arise, eat, this journey is too great for you.” And it is enough to sustain him for forty days’ wanderings as he progresses towards a mountain.  When he reaches his destination, the Lord speaks to him and asks him “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  He answers, saying that he is fleeing for his life.  The voice tells him to go and stand at the mountain, and “Behold, the Lord was passing!”

A great and strong wind rocks the mountain walls, then an earthquake, and then a great fire.  But the Lord is not in any of them.  He comes after the fire, in the sound of a gentle blowing, and at this, Elijah emerges from the cave he was in, wraps his face in his mantle, and steps out to meet the Lord.  Again, the Lord asks him “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  And again, Elijah tells the Lord that he is fleeing for his life.

The Lord then tells Elijah to turn around, go back into the wilderness, to go to Damascus, and proclaim new kings for both Israel and Judah, and then to anoint Elisha to take his place.

He arrives in Damascus, finds Elisha, and puts his mantle over him.  Elisha, however, asks to say goodbye to his parents, which Elijah allows, and then Elisha follows and attends to Elijah.

There is SO much goodness in this passage.

  1. A man as holy as Elijah has his moments where he fears man more than he fears the Lord.  And God is not angry with him, God simply wants Elijah to admit where he’s at (What are you doing here?), to recognize that he is fleeing from man, instead of trusting in Him.  And God meets Elijah in a crazy way in the midst of his fear.
  2. After such a strong demonstration of God’s power (lighting the wet sacrifice), there will be those who turn to follow God, but there will be those too, who will seek to kill you and the God that you worship.  We’re always at war.
  3. Elijah fled to the wilderness alone.  He left his servant behind, just as Abraham left his servants behind when he went up on a mountain, and just as Jesus often retired by himself to pray.  These people willingly chose to be alone when they go to meet with the Lord, but in truth, the wilderness can be a lonely place.  Jesus was alone in the wilderness for forty days as well, led by the Spirit to go there.
  4. Even holy people have moments where they would rather just be taken up and leave this earth behind.  It is selfish and sinful, to be sure, to escape the trials and difficulties and fears of this world, but at least we are not alone when we have such thoughts.
  5. God knows what we can handle, and he will provide and sustain us so we can continue.  Arise, and eat, for this journey is too great for you.” How beautiful!!!  The Lord knows, even when we flee in fear, that we are weak, and he is tender and gentle with us.  While we are still on this earth, while God still has plans for us, he will sustain us so we can accomplish his plans.  And what he provides is enough.  Elijah lasted forty days on those two meals.
  6. Even in the wilderness, Elijah is open and sensitive to the words of the Lord, and obeys his commands, and the Lord meets him.
  7. I love that the Lord was not in the great wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire.  These great demonstrations of power and might announce the Lord’s coming (and strike fear and awe in our hearts), but the Lord himself appears as the “sound of a gentle blowing”.  Again, it’s so tender.  He is the God of angel armies, the God of all creation, the God of righteousness and justice, of power and might, but he presents himself as the rustling of a gentle breeze.  I think sometimes, especially when we find ourselves in sin, like Elijah, fearing the world more than our God, fleeing to protect ourselves, and wanting to die to avoid the pain and fears of this world, we often expect harsh judgement and a godly slap in the face.  Or even when Jesus came, the Jews expected to find a mighty king who would overthrow governments and reign in power.  But instead, it’s his loving kindness that leads us to repentance, it’s his great mercy and grace that touches our hearts and bids us die and follow him.  Surely our God is the God of both/and–he is both righteous AND gracious, just AND merciful, pillars of fire AND the sound of a breeze…and he chose to be a baby in a manger.  As Matthew Henry says  “Gracious souls are more affected by the tender mercies of the Lord than by his terrors.”
  8. He calls Elijah by name and gives him a mountain top experience, where his courage is restored, he is refreshed, and his purpose and vision are renewed.  It may have been in the midst of dark and uncertain times for him–no food, no water, Jezebel and the wrath of the king seeking his life, but God was there, and God not only provided his needs, but he attended to his soul–Why are you here, Elijah?, and revealed his plans for him.

And so yes, even in my disobedient heart that still wants what the Lord has said is not for me, even as I rub salt in my own wounds (why??), he convicts me, but he is still so tender and so gracious with me.

And he has reminded me too, of all that he has done, of my testimony from day one of laying down my life for him to everything that has led me to being here in Hawaii.  That his hand was upon it all, and while there were periods of wandering in the desert, he was still there, and he was still leading me.  And Lord, that year of wilderness felt so long.  I felt so deserted and spiritually dry.  But your amazing timing and incredible plans were at work even then, this I know full well.

And so you may be leading me into the wilderness now–my closest friend here having graduated and moved away, ending a relationship with my other good friend, small group girls moving away, and my grad school friends all gone or busy with their own lives, you’re pruning my life. Truth, there’s still one good friend here, but even still.  I may not be choosing this for myself, like Elijah, Abraham, or Jesus did, but I know that you still have good work to be done, and that even if I end up in that dreaded wilderness again, that you will meet me there.  You will speak tenderly to me and call me by name, and you will give me new purpose.  You will make these dry bones live.

Ezekiel 37:1-6

The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

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Gullible Grace.

gullible

adjective trustinginnocentnaiveunsuspectinggreensimplesillyfoolishunsophisticatedcredulousborn yesterdaywet behind the ears (informal), easily taken in, unsceptical, as green as grass I’m so gullible I believed him.
antonyms: worldlysophisticatedsuspiciouscynicaluntrusting
Another one of my ‘dictionary’ entries, I suppose.
So last week a friend/coworker/supervisor (we have a complicated relationship) told me that when she first met me, not only did she think that I was homeschooled, and had lived a very sheltered childhood, but she told me that she “couldn’t believe that someone as gullible as [me] has survived for so long.”
We’re relatively good friends, we spend lots of time together at work, and have gone out for dinner a number of times, and in general, I feel like she’s someone I can trust.  I know she cares about me (she’s not one to either be emotional or even talk about emotions, but she has told me that she does care), and I know she didn’t intend to hurt me.  She’s very intelligent, logical, sarcastic, cynical, and quite frankly, judgmental, and so I never take her jabs to heart.
This time, however,I can’t seem to shake off her words.  She said that people must take advantage of me all the time, because I believe the good in people and am too trusting.
For one, I haven’t been taken advantage of in a major way (to my knowledge), and I tend not to surround myself with disingenuous people in the first place.  In addition, I’m a product of the public school system, but I will admit to having lived a suburban childhood and college experience. After I graduated, I lived in a neighborhood in the city of Chicago that had blue police cameras (indicating high crime), was in the process of being gentrified, but for the most part was full of families (and a couple gangs).
For some reason though, her words have made me take a closer look at myself.  Is there a Biblical basis for my trusting outlook on life and others?  Or am I being naive and my worldview needs to shift?  Who does God call us to be?  What should our interactions with others look like?
I am optimistic, generally joyful, and I will give people the benefit of the doubt, unless they have given me reason not to.  I also realize that people act certain ways oftentimes as a product of what they’ve experienced in their lives, though I wholeheartedly believe that God can and does take the worst experiences and turn that pain into deep loving compassion in many people. We often don’t know the struggles that people have experienced or are currently experiencing, so how can we judge?
On the flip side of things, it is true that we are all sinful people.  No one is righteous, no not even one.  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3).  We all have within us the capacity for evil, since they day that we were born.  Not just the capacity, or the ability to do evil–but even so far as the propensity for evil.  We are naturally inclined to walk in ways that go against what our Creator desires for us.
How many times have we done something that we knew was wrong, or unkind, but we willingly did it anyway?  Paul puts it best–“I don’t understand what I do.  What I want to do, I cannot do, and I hate what I do.”   We know that murder, lying, cheating, lust, all carries penalties.  We have seen the scars that selfishness has left upon the earth as we’ve pillaged and plundered resources and force children to mine minerals and ores for little to no pay.  We have seen marriages end because of lust and lack of self control.  We have seen friendships end over lies.  And we have seen and known the tears and heartache that come from having someone we care about ripped out of our embrace too soon.  Whole industries are made profitable upon the backs of others, whether they are children, men, or women because of the selfishness of consumers.
Does this mean that we should consider all people to be completely base and corrupt?  Does this mean that we should seek to protect our own selves by expecting the worst in others?
Does this mean that we only let people into our hearts in so far as they deserve?
Perhaps, to some.  There is certainly wisdom in guarding your heart, as Proverbs says that the wellspring of life flows from it.  And in truth, there are a lot of people who will take advantage of your kindness or your trusting nature.
When I was younger, I attended a church in Chicago’s Chinatown.  On Sundays, Chinatown was full of people who would come and catch a glimpse of Chinese culture.  In addition, there were a lot of people who lived on the streets, and often asked for money.  Our church has a policy of not giving money out, but instead offering a meal and if there’s time, company.  One Sunday, one of my friends brought a man into one of the restaurants and told him he could have whatever he wanted to eat.  He ordered the most expensive dish on the menu, but unfortunately, my friend couldn’t stay to talk.  She rushed off to Sunday School, and left the man waiting there for his takeout.  As soon as my friend had left, the man asked to cancel the order and take the money instead.  Another person at our church watched the exchange, and told us later what had transpired.
A small thing, but the principle is the same.  People will take what they want from you, especially if you seem like an easy target.
But we are called to Love.  It’s the second greatest commandment, behind loving the Lord.  To love one another as Jesus has loved us, and by this all people will know that we are His.
To be willing to lay down your life for your friends.
I could be wrong, but I can’t think of an instance where we are told to withhold anything from others.  If anything, he tells us to spend ourselves on behalf of the poor, to give the cloak off our backs, to turn the other cheek, to open our homes to strangers because in doing so we may be entertaining angels, and yes, ultimately, to be willing to give our lives for others. In addition, when Jesus was sending out disciples, he told them not to bring anything but to rely on people for their needs, building relationships with people in the town, and shaking off the dust when they were rejected.
God as our example won us over not with guilt, laws, and by withholding blessings from us.  He won us over with love and kindness.  It’s his kindness that leads us to repentance, and the law is there to show us how far we have fallen and how we are not capable of living a wholly God pleasing life.  And He gave us the law not to lord it over us and tell us that there is no hope for us, instead he showed us our need and then provided the way to love, to relationship with him at his expense.  He is the one who spent himself on behalf of others.  He is the one that gave his cloak to be cast for lots, his flesh, his blood, his life for us.  If he is the example, we can hold nothing back.
Loving kindness.  Loving generously.  And not expect people to be perfect–but quite the opposite. Know that we are all fallen people, and that should in turn drive us to compassion, and not towards self-protection.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” C.S. Lewis
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Lovely.

Lovely.
adjective

1. charmingly or exquisitely beautiful: a lovely flower.
2. having a beauty that appeals to the heart or mind as well as to the eye, as a person or a face.
3. delightful; highly pleasing: to have a lovely time.
4. of a great moral or spiritual beauty: a lovely character.

noun

5. Informal. a beautiful woman, especially a show girl.
6. any person or thing that is pleasing, highly satisfying,

For about 7 years, I have had a friend whom I nicknamed “Lovely”. She once wore a shirt with the word embellished in large sweeping letters across her chest, and it’s just such a nice but far too uncommon word that I started using it as a nickname for her.  More than cute, more real and far deeper than just pretty, it signifies a delight in character and visage.

Just yesterday, I was walking alone down the touristy streets of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.  It was relatively early in the morning, around 10am, and the cold sun had already begun to cast its grey shimmer through the thin fog, cutting across the stormy steel-blue waves that crashed against the pilings laden with seagulls.

The air was cool with a thick layer of sea salt, so I tucked my hands into the fleece-lined pockets of my rainjacket, and pulled the zipper up to my chin to keep my skin tucked away from the breezes.  These weren’t the warm Hawaiian tradewinds that I’m so accustomed to;  I shivered–not from the cold–but from the excitement of taking in the sights on my own for a couple hours before I had to catch my flight back home.

I felt exhilaration at the anonymity I had in this city full of wonders, and I felt the warmth of wanderlust winding through my veins, begging my feet to make haste in this new place.

It had been years since I’d seen the stalls stuffed with steaming seafood and crab legs, the stores lined with their squish penny souvenir machines and postcards of cable cars and winding garden streets.  The last time my feet had touched these streets, I was just a girl, holding on to the hands of my mother.  I remembered sitting and staring at barking sea lions, and breathing in the warm scent of soft sourdough bread.  I couldn’t wait to explore this part of town and reawaken childhood memories that were retained in the ‘I heart SF’ sweatshirt and flattened pieces of copper stamped with iconic SF landmarks that lived in my drawers at home.

I set out from my hotel without a map, and without an agenda.  I knew if I stuck to the shoreline, I’d never get lost, and when it came time, the waves would take me home.

I passed by an older woman, who accosted me, telling me that I was being stopped for “being under the influence of San Francisco”.  She handed me a sticker with that ubiquitous “I ❤ SF”, and told me she was collecting money to feed the hungry.  I signed my name and handed her some money, my soul warmed as though I myself had been given a warm meal. We chatted, and after hearing how I was a marine biologist, she affirmed that the beautiful blazing bounty of life found beneath the waves was a testimony to the glories of God. I wholeheartedly agreed, and she bid me farewell with yet another sticker–an American flag, this time–and a “Thank you” and a “God bless”.  Indeed, I am blessed.

I kept walking, passing under an awning, smiling and waving as the stall keepers solicited me with smiles and promises of only the freshest seafood.  I skipped the Starbucks, and stopped to admire a window full of San Francisco souvenirs.  Always on the hunt for unique shot glasses to add to my collection, I slipped into the store, bells jingling my arrival.

I contemplated the bags of Ghiradelli chocolates, on sale, but having bought some just last night, I forced myself to keep walking.  I perused one aisle full of cheesy shot glasses plastered with cartoon images of the Golden Gate Bridge and clip art cable cars, then stepped into the next aisle, walking past two men, and found another shot glass treasury.  These were more unique, with colorfully painted scenes from the City by the Bay.  Admiring the artistry and weighing it against the price tag, I felt a pair of eyes watching me.

The two men I’d passed slowly crossed over to my right, “Lovely,” one of them leaned in and said.  They crossed back to my left, and the other said in a singsong voice “I always want what I can’t have.”  I shivered, again, not from the cool breezes, but from the cavalier comments ringing in my ears.  I kept my chin high and my eyes on the glasses, until I felt their eyes leave, signalling my cue to walk away.

It’s strange, how a few misplaced comments can make one feel so small, and so vulnerable.  Cat calls, winks, leering glances, and sidelong sneaks are all part of the female experience, unfortunately.  Usually I can handle things just fine, but because there were two of them, and I was just me–just an unknown girl in a strange city…it was an unsettling and unnerving experience.  I felt unsafe, exposed, and quite frankly, fearful.  The drunk power of a day of solitary wanderlust became tinged with slight paranoia and constant vigilance.  I couldn’t just walk alone on the seaside streets getting lost in the sights, instead, the realities of my situation returned and I was more than just alone–I was unaccompanied.

I’ve had more than my fair share of girl friends who have encountered the darker side of desire.  I struggle to forgive the men who have hurt them, but beyond that, I struggle living in a society where women have to fear for their safety.  Moreover, not just a society, but a world where women have to face much more than the quick look up and down (even that is not ok).

I started this entry wanting to write inflammatory comments and have a righteous anger towards men who degrade women with their eyes, their words, or their actions.  I wanted to rant and rave about the state of the world and how unjust, disgusting, and sexist it still is.  I wanted to talk about the woman who was gang raped in India for no reason other than the fact that she stepped onto the bus.  I wanted to champion women’s causes and point out that the worst in men is terribly all too common.

But as I wrote the paragraph before last, I came up blank.  All this Jesus-flipping-tables anger just would not manifest itself through my flying fingers.  I paused, and I knew that the Lord was calling me to forgive.

To forgive the men who besmirched the word love in the eyes of not one, not two, not even three, but four of my friends.  Who pushed the boundaries because of their human selfishness, who took revenge and punishment out in the worst way possible.  The men who refused to treat my friends with respect and dignity.  Even now, when I think about what they have done, what they have said, and what they have taken, some of them over 3 years ago, I feel my body tensing in anger.

But I know, I know that God is calling me to let it go.  I want to, but I want to see them change before my eyes.  I want to hear that they understand how terribly they hurt my friends, how many tears have been shed over what they have done.  I want them to know what they did and I want them to realize how broken they are.  I want them to never do such things again, and instead, to fight for change in our society.   But the reality is that grace is unwarranted.  Forgiveness is unmerited.  God, the God of justice and the God of grace, is more brokenhearted than I will ever be.  All of these men knew God.  All of them at one point called Jesus their Lord.  Do I trust that God is at work in their lives?

My friends (or I) may never hear the “I’m sorry” that we’re waiting for.  While it’s true that hurt people hurt people, forgiven people should forgive people.  It’s a daily process, a choice .  One that I haven’t wanted to approach for years.  Why should I forgive them when they don’t understand the extent that they’ve done?

Because I am forgiven.  Are their sins really any worse than my own?

Every act of rebellion against God causes pain and suffering–whether it’s to others, to myself, or most importantly, to God.  The insurmountable sins that we have each committed were enough to put Jesus on that cross.  It was enough that he willingly came down and lived the sinless life none of us could, so that we could know him.

Who am I to look down on my broken brothers and lord it over them, claiming that the pain they’ve caused is worse than the rebellious ways that I’ve chosen in my own life?

It’s not up to me.  We live in a world that is broken, with people that are broken, who create systems of brokenness.

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” -C.S. Lewis

Love Actually

I love that movie.  It definitely has questionable morals, and I don’t condone them, but what I love about it is that it shows love in many of its different forms.  Through family, brothers, sisters, parents, children.  Through friends.  Through lovers.

But the scenes that stick with me, that really give me that warm fuzzy feeling inside, are the scenes in the airport.  Tons of people waiting with eager anticipation for their loved ones to step off the airplane and into their arms.  That sense of missing someone for days, weeks, maybe even months or years at a time.

This holiday season (I still feel like calling it “break”), I have a lot to be thankful for.  (another post on that later)  And this holiday season, probably more than any other, I’d visited a number of airports.  I spent hours in layovers at airports.  I’ve had my fair share of traveling time in the past (my dad worked for United), but I rarely, if ever, saw those scenes where there are just crowds of people waiting with hushed breath searching face after face to see that one person  step out of the gate.

This year was different though.  After spending 2 days in airports trying to get home, I finally arrived at good ol’ O’Hare.  Our plane had been delayed a good hour or two, and as I stepped out of the gate and into the waiting area, I saw a family.  Not swarms of families, just one family.  A mother, a daughter of about twelve, and a son around three or four.   Suddenly, the daughter runs past me screaming “Daddy!”, and a quick glance behind me reveals their embrace.  But it’s the little boy that really gets me.  He stands still for a moment.  His eyes get so big, so round, and he just whispers it–“Daddy.”  And he too, takes off running into the arms of his father.

I don’t know why it sticks with me.  Maybe it’s just that their love is so pure, and their only motive is to greet the father that they love, the father that loves them.  The longing and anticipation that they had, and the welcoming embrace that they had been waiting for.

Takes off running into the arms of his Father. The safest, most loving, accepted place to be.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  And [Jesus] took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them, and blessed them.   –Matthew 10:14, 16