And, being a life-long seeker of knowledge, when my son entered the legal system I wanted a Mothering Your Son in Jail for Dummies book. I would have paid big money to attend a seminar on the subject (or have gratefully sent my pastor and my friend). I wanted to know how to fix this, improve this, repair this nightmarish system where the term "justice" seems a cruel joke. Now, let me make this clear. My child was not only guilty as charged, his arrogance and foolishness consistently made matters worse. And my upbringing of him include serious lapses and failures. But the longer I am involved in matters within the criminal justice system the more I am confused by this: why do we as a nation believe we can effectively hold sinners accountable with a system that is so terrifically broken that it is not only making the sinners MORE broken, but also placing horrible burdens on the staff and administrators at jails and prisons, the innocent children of these sinners and the broken parents, sisters, wives, husbands, aunties, cousins, neighbors, church friends, and street friends, and overwhelmed social workers and foster parents.....way too many people who start crying as a struggling child grows into a defiant teen, broken adult, abandoning parent and finally dependent adult child in a frightening cycle gaining ground daily.
I'm stunned at how many seriously broken people are trying to survive with an all too accurate understanding of their own limitations and brokenness. Maybe instead of jail they work at the desk next to you bringing their sorrowful, angry self into your office. Maybe they serve on a committee with you at church bringing their need to control a world spinning ever faster out of control to disrupt your perfect plans. Maybe they weep with their children and for their children when the death that is stalking their family causes all days to be without hope. Please pray persistently for all who are trying to stuff the God-shaped whole with everything except God. Be humble with them and gentle, being patient and bearing with them in healthy ways. Be Christ to them.
This weekend I had the opportunity to meet and learn from wise, power-filled women who bear enormous sorrows with patience and grace, and are growing such gentle spirits; for whom patience is a way of life and who love on the most broken of us through the Spirit of God. I have learned much and intend to keep attending classes, maybe share a bit of what I have learned by teaching a class someday too. (Much was taught without a word of instruction, but rather by the gifts of truly listening and the giving of love unmarred by judgement.)
Thank you, God for these people who find their way to hope, faith, channeled strength, patience, power, joy and a thousand other blessings that the Almighty and Perfect God says, however broken, we deserve. Not just that we might earn it. Not just that we might have a pity-filled, righteous person to negotiate for us. NO! God says such who are sinners and broken and without hope, such people as us, are so worthy that Jesus came to die for them, not just with the passive acceptance of the Father, but with the utter and total support of the Father. And Jesus sent the Comforter to make sure that we have all we need the very nano-second that we are willing to accept it. God nudges us, woos us, bugs us, whispers love into our tender and wounded ears with a permanent and passionate plea to turn our face to our Creator, Father, Husband, Friend, finally willing to accept the help that has been waiting all along.
Thank you God, for the blessings of the KAIROS* folks who are your hands and feet, loving on us and on our loved ones!
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV)
*Check out the KAIROS link on the "links" tab above.