Sitting in the living room, clean, perfect, the walls covered with pictures of their family...
His voice talking, constant, passionate... anger, frustration, laughter... all coming from his mouth one after another.
I am literally biting my lips to keep from opening my mouth, to tell him to stop, to tell him he is wrong.
I glance at my loving husband who is looking at me... his eyes filled with understanding but also with a gentle reminder...don't. Don't open your mouth, don't say anything, I know it's awful but keep quiet. Don't cast pearls to swine.
These words he has told me often before, I know they are the message he is sending with his eyes.
I sit quietly, I endure...
The father of this home is a police officer...and a christian. He professes the name of the Lord Jesus. He is my brother in the Body of Christ. I do not want to think negative things about him, but...he is making me sick. His words are making me sick.
He is talking about the people he pulls over. He tells us how awful they are, the lies they tell. He takes pleasure in ticketing them.
Next he tells us about the kids he meets in juvie. About how messed up they are, how they are so disrespectful and nothing will ever change them.
Moving into the gang members, how they are all the same, they don't want to change, they won't change.
My heart is pounding as he speaks....I want to yell at him. My husband continues to look at me with love, understanding, trying to keep me quiet.
Before the conversation finally moves onto something else, he informs us how pointless jail ministries are. The prisoners don't care, they only go listen to the pastors because it gives them something to do. They won't change, they will get out of jail and go right back to their life of drugs and crime, even if they "accept" Christ.
Oh how I am fuming inside. My heart breaks... I want to weep with the woman who was given a speeding ticket, which now she must pay, though she can't buy food for her family.
I want to wrap my arms around the kids in juvie, the kids in the gangs. I want to tell them they are loved. I want to bring them home and let them have a family, let them see they are something, they are special. I hurt with them, for the lack of love they have been given, for what has drawn them to this life.
I want to go to the jail, tell people there is another way, watch them choose Jesus, be their friend and advocate when they are released.
"Mourn with those who mourn..."
And I want to tell this man how terrible these things are that he is saying, I want to ask him where his love is, where his compassion is, I want to ask him how he can love Jesus and ooze judgment all over His created people, the ones He loves.
But I don't. I hold my tongue. I know better. I have spoken up before, I have been met with arguments, stubbornness, denial. I know he won't listen, I know it will only cause problems.
On our way home, still fuming, I ask my husband, "How can you listen to him? How can you sit still and hear him and not say anything? Don't you feel this anger that I am feeling? He is awful, just plain awful. He is supposed to be a christian! He has no grace, no compassion, none. NONE! He claims the name of Jesus, but he has NO GRACE for anyone!"
Kindly, gently, my husband puts his hand on mine and asks, "Where is your grace for him?"
I am silenced. Oh Lord, how did I miss this? I was so wrapped up in his lack of grace that I became the one with no grace. I am no better. How prideful had I become, taking pride in being compassionate?
Praying for him, asking for God to help me to have grace on this man... asking forgiveness for my own lack of grace, my pride, my foolishness... Oh Lord, help me take this sty out of my eye. Help me show grace to him, and when he is given grace, help him to give it to others.