The person being sentenced looked very much like Christopher Lloyd's character in Roger Rabbit after being run over by a road paver....flat and curling forward in sorrow, embarrassment and despair. The prisoner expressed a desire to tell the cautionary tale of how indulging a common form of self-obsession snowballed into a stunning felony conviction; the story is indeed one that needs to be told and often, but the forum will be fearfully narrow for a very long time. And there will be many opportunities while incarcerated to appreciate just how frightfully common is this desire for redemption.
However do folks survive this? How do they recover from the financial, physical and emotional fall out lasting for years? Some slowly find trustworthy folks to walk with them, develop a deeper and growing faith that God is bigger than all this, and appreciate the challenges of families walking this journey. Others sink into despair or rage.
We call it the legal system or the criminal justice system or the thin blue line or a righteous crusade, but here is the stark and terrifying truth: The world is full of lies about how selfish we can act yet never find ourselves longing for a "do over" as the reality of our errors begins to pour down like lava when the pressure buildup becomes visible to all. Not all of our willfulness will land us in legal trouble (although lots of it certainly does). But we are all vulnerable to ruining our relationships, harming those we love the most, and encouraging others to join our wilding to assuage our own small voice of sanity yelling, "Are you nuts? How can this come out in any good way? Stop!!! Stop!!! Stop!!!!"
- Today, will you pray for those sitting in courtrooms and cells as a result of their own willfulness, now facing a very public journey?
- Today will you pray for the families who are affected by this, no matter how they respond, giving them wisdom to lean on You more deeply?
- Today will you pray for the victims of selfishness, especially the most vulnerable: children, elderly, ill, undocumented, poor, fearful, hopeless folks who desperately need healing and renewal?
- Today will you pray that good people speak truth to people blind to their own selfishness before they ignore their slide until they have fallen into illegal acts?
- Today will you ask that God's Mercy & Grace be abundant and redemptive for all, from those dealing with private fears to those whose errors are so very public?
- Today will you thank God that the most broken and depraved of us, and those still on the low end of the selfishness spectrum, through all who stand in the relentless rings of damage from our bad choices that keep coming and moving on to harm others -- and that is all of us in this mess together-- are right now standing where God is bigger than the chaos, pain and destruction and God is love to us.
For this and all Your trustworthiness and faithfulness and capacity, we thank You, O God.