Sunday, July 06, 2008

This Thing called Grace And Other Uneasy Answers...

If you ask me if I've heard, the answer is yes. I have heard that two of our clients were arrested for theft - of food.

The person who told me this said she didn't think they should be allowed to have food from our food pantry. She's not associated with Hope for Healing.Org. She was stating her opinion.

Would it matter if she knew that an older woman lives with them who has an incurable, disabling neurological disease? Or that the husband of this couple has a heart condition which recently rendered him unable to work? Does it matter that the wife has multiple sclerosis and that health insurance is a dream instead of a reality?

If we cut them off from our unofficial food pantry what will they to do to survive? Would Jesus cut them off? Where is He in this?

And what about taking care of the poor, the widows or the orphans?

I can't find anything in the Bible where Jesus failed to respond to the cry of the needy. If we as Christians are to be His ambassadors, His hands, His feet, are we not also to respond?

What about this thing called "Grace"? Isn't that the answer?

Jesus' grace allows his death and resurrection to bring hope to those who have none. It brings light into a dark world. It is a gift given freely so that everyone - all people - may have a chance to become who God intended. This includes you, me (thank God!) and even "them". As Christians, there's not anything we can do to get around it.

We all sinned. We are all saved by grace. End of story. It's not complicated right?


Understanding it is one thing. Living it can be quite another.

But we try.

Much of what we do at Hope for Healing.Org involves responding to people who have done things that we don't like. We cross the street and pay attention to those we find. If someone is in the ditch, we help them up, dust them off and help them find their way.

Our job is easy when you have single moms coming in with cute little kids. Kids are generally innocent. You can't help but love them and you always are glad to help. We try our best to spoil them when they come in the door!

But our job is harder when the lives lived by our clients are tougher. The questions we wrestle with cause sleepless nights and stress filled days. Sometimes, we don't understand the life choices that our clients make.

Then we realize that we don't have to understand. That's not our job. Jesus calls us to be compassionate and sincere. He tells us to be a "salve to the wounded" and that's what we have to do.

Sometimes, that salve comes in the form of helping a victim of domestic violence navigate a confusing legal system. Other times, that salve means handing someone a bag of groceries - in spite of the life choices he or she has made.

Grace, freely given to us, being freely shared with others.

That's our job. That's our calling.

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