Wednesday

to have compassion and grace

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, your love?"

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 plank out of my eye.  Help me show grace to him, to love him despite all, and when he is given grace, help him to give it to others.





16 comments:

  1. Swallowing hard at the lump in my throat...

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  2. amy, so well written, and man, have i found that "log in my own eye" as well.... so hard to give the grace we expect others to also give.

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  3. I love the way you write from this perspective.
    Grace is such an incredible thing!

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  4. Yes, pray for him. It is difficult to be in the trenches. To be in the battle day after day. To have evil meet you each morning with your coffee. To see the dregs of society and the followers of the enemy mock you constantly. To know you are going to be disrespected by half the people you meet each day. To know you may die by the hand of any one of these. Yes, pray for him. He needs it and allow him a release with friends. He needs it too. I loved your story. I can see your loving heart.

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  5. My, my, my that man of yours is filled with wisdom and compassion! Maybe that's why you married him?

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  6. Grace.
    i am thankful.
    and i'm pulling at my own plank, by His grace.

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  7. Amy, so glad i decided to stop in. yes, also swallowing at the lump in my throat. a very wonderful story. what is so wonderful is your vulnerability, your loving submission to your husband, the grace that is so evident here, and your heart that is softened toward God. i love hearing these unique stories about husbands and wives. encourages me to love mine better. thank God for our godly men, right? thank you for writing. i will be checking in often.

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  8. Thanks for being real and not watering down your feelings, but also recognizing the wisdom of your husband's compassionate and self-controlled response.

    I'm often like you, but have learned that people are more convicted by my kindness, compassion and self-control than my words of condemnation. Great post!

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  9. What a poignant story. And such a real conclusion. That's exactly it. I have a similar situation at work and I really appreciate the reminder tonight.

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  10. oh sister. what a wise man, this one of yours. and how convicting, his words.... (and how beautiful your heart, truly)

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  11. A wise, loving response from your man. Oh, this is good for me to hear and read. Pride can come in sneaky ways, I appreciate this.

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  12. The husband who loves and is wise...what a great treasure. Oh, the beam in my eye that I have to remove over and over again.

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  13. I didn't come from Ann's link this week – I linked up – but I put in the wrong URL – and every one that clicks me gets "you do not have permission to read this post." Nice huh? I posted my" preview" post instead of the real thing. So I've been avoiding the Wednesday posts – and I just came here because I wanted to read your words – and even though he it's a linky post – and my heart hurts a little bit – I read it – all of it – and I have brothers that are cops and I know all of the stories – and I was just as stilled as you by your husband's words. Just. As. Stilled. Thank you for this Amy – thank you. And God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours.

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  14. Your heart is so beautiful. This post resonates with my soul.

    Janelle

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  15. You have such a wise husband! Thank goodness for husbands who make us toe the line and turn us into better people!

    God bless you, too, for your humility and kindness.

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