When a person messes up and does something selfish and stupid, it’s hard for them to accept grace. Most people live as though grace is stored in the petty-cash box and needing it means you are being impulsive or you made some bad choices that put you in a tight spot. It’s not a good thing to have to get into that box. It’s embarrassing.
People divvy it up like a budget and reserve the option to stipend. If you look at grace like it’s inherited money, then you can see a point when someone needs to be cut off or they’ll ruin. You block a trust fund based on the best interest of the money.
Benefactor, who has set themselves up as your trustee? Your inner circle? A distant leader? What does your church say about what you’ve done? Can petty-cash-grace cover it, or has a line been drawn in a meeting with your name at the center? What happens behind closed doors and whose best interest is the focus? Why do they want to keep it so quiet if they’re not doing something that people won’t agree with?
The sinner is forced to disappear and the rest of the people have nothing but questions and gossip to figure out why. No wonder nobody reaches out to the broken, married man isolated in a bachelor’s condo trying to figure out what he has to live for. If his church family knew what had happened and what he was going through, he wouldn’t be alone. I bet he’d have an army escorting him back to his spot of worship. But, the board room secrets and the stone-hearted grace-fund trustee hide the truth by keeping them distracted and hyped enough to not realize they’ve been part of an old-fashioned shunning. Ask them if they want that. The good one’s don’t.
There is a woman who just landed on her knees because she was told that her church felt sorry for her children because she was their sinful mother. The stress of having unconditional love taken from her threatens to kill the child she carries in her womb. The medicine that stops the stress-abortion also sedates her. She’ll make it, but for what purpose? Does her church know that their name is on her sentence?
There is a man who wasn’t allowed to see his daughter after he left because “divorce is too confusing for children”. He sinks inside himself in June and retells the story of her birth every September. Landmarks are full of questions, like heirlooms with missing jewels. It’s been so long, that now it would be confusing for her. Is someone going to help him make sure his daughter knows she’s wanted and loved?
The man sits in his apartment surrounded by guns and whiskey. He had one avenue to God that his damage couldn’t block and it was through his music. His church unplugged his guitar and put the microphone in front of someone else when he came to them for help. They set the rules and changed them so many times that it was clear they never had any intention of getting out of the way between him and God. I guarantee that his church didn’t know that’s why he left. That’s why the entire worship team left.
The heroes are the nobodies, but the nobodies need to know they’re heroes or they’ll never try to scale the walls.
The ocean of guilt and condemnation has a storm twisting above it and it threatens to claim the dry land as ocean floor. You have nowhere to go and not enough fight to save yourself.
Then, finally, comes the voice:
“Even then, as bad as it will be”—God’s Decree!—”it will not be the end of the world for you.” -Jeremiah 5:18 MSG
How is it possible to recover from your own sin when you can’t go back? How is it that good people can say one thing, but God says another? They tell you you’re beyond restoration and God calls you His beloved. They won’t talk to you, but He says He died for you.
“Yes, me, who made the shorelines to contain the ocean waters. I drew a line in the sand that cannot be crossed. Waves roll in but cannot get through; breakers crash but that’s the end of them.” -Jeremiah 5:22 MSG
You’re standing in the sand and the ocean breathes salty. The only line that was drawn in the scripture was drawn with you and Him on one side and the rest of the rock throwing world on the other. And that line cannot be crossed.
It will be bad, but it won’t be the end.
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt.-John 8:6 MSG