Tag Archives: Thoughts to Ponder

Unmerited Grace, Unwarranted Forgiveness, and Undeserved Love

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Grace. Forgiveness. Love.

These are three words that people throw around time and time again. I do, and you may too. The question is – do you believe that they are for everyone? Think about those people who are hard to extend grace to, who just don’t deserve forgiveness, and those who are really hard to love. Do you have a mental picture of someone in your head right now? I know I came up with several examples.

As an example, I will bring up a recent news event. A little ten year old girl was abducted. An amber alert was issued, and hope for her safe return was sent around the nation. We all went to bed that evening, many people nationwide praying for her to be returned home safely. The next morning, however, the news reports were heartbreaking. A man had been found, arrested and charged with her murder. Murder. Seems she wouldn’t be returning home safely after all. I know my heart broke with many, many people about this. My initial response was WHAT THE <insert expletive of your choice here> IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???? Then, as the news story further unfolded, it was noted that this precious child had been abducted, molested, and then murdered. Harder to think about, this was all allegedly purported by someone many children trust every day – a teacher. This made me angry…and it should. This broke my heart…for what the little girl endured, but also for her family, and for those who loved her, and now will miss her.

Now that I have painted this hard to think about picture, I’d like to offer another scenario that will likely make your stomach turn. It may even make you angry. But, what I’d like, more than anything else, is for it to open a dialog. I’d like to hope you will at least think about it.

Let’s take this man. A man many people have called all sorts of names – many I will not repeat, cause they are not appropriate for general audience. That said, people have also been quick to explain what they’d like to do to this man. What punishment they’d give him, if it was their ability to do so. I bet you could imagine what your punishment for his crimes would be. Torture? Execution? Whatever method chosen, it would likely be very unpleasant, and likely painful.

So, about my scenario regarding the man charged with kidnapping, molestation and murder — Does he deserve grace? What about forgiveness? Surely not love!? Couldn’t be – he doesn’t DESERVE any of those things!! I would like to challenge this line of thinking!! No, he absolutely does NOT deserve grace, forgiveness OR love. The truth is, though, NONE of us do! God hates sin. ALL sin.

*******Prior to my continuing, I would like to insert this little caveat. While I am about to explain my thoughts about grace, forgiveness and love – as it relates to a criminal of his nature, I want to make it known how I also feel. I believe 100% that this man, provided he is found guilty of the aforementioned charges, should be held accountable. I think he should be punished, and every amount of the legal ramifications he is due, SHOULD be afforded him!!*******

Now I’d like to explain my thought process behind what I mentioned earlier. This man needs grace. He needs forgiveness, and he also needs love. As Christians, we are called to love as Jesus loved. What does this REALLY mean though? God’s grace is not earned, and you can never actually earn it. The same rings true about forgiveness. God forgives. Period. At this point, you may be thinking I am off my rocker! That may be, but not for these reasons. You see, every human being alive needs grace, forgiveness and love. Period. EVERY PERSON.

Does this mean we have to love (or even like) what he did? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But, if we are truly going to love as Jesus loved, we are going to dig deep, ask God for help if need be, and offer him love. This doesn’t mean we’d ever want to even look at him. It doesn’t mean you’d run up and give him a bear hug. It doesn’t mean you would ever invite him over for Christmas dinner. What it does mean, is that you’d want to see his heart softened, him come to know Jesus, him turn from his criminal ways, and ultimately end up in Heaven one day. Does he DESERVE it? No! But, I’m back to the same sentiment that NONE OF US DO! Should his crimes be forgiven? Not in the eyes of the law, and not as it relates to justice being served legally. What it DOES mean is that God gave his only son to die on the cross to forgive EVERYONE of their sins. This man’s horrible, despicable choices are no different. Jesus has already paid the price. As I mentioned previously, I absolutely believe he should be held accountable for the choices he made, and for the crimes he committed if he’s convicted. Grace does not erase what he’s done. It doesn’t make it all better. It does, however, give him the opportunity to do the right thing. It makes it possible for him to have a second chance.

I recognize this isn’t necessarily a popular topic, and I’m okay with that.

It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you’ve done. God loves you, God forgives your sins (if you ask Him to) and He freely gives you grace. Knowing that God’s grace is freely given, that His forgiveness is for the taking, and His love is very real is not a ticket to commit crime. It is, however, the possibility of a second chance. It’s not even living a perfect, or blame free life. It’s knowing that you ARE human, and at some point – you WILL mess up. But, it’s the knowledge that God’s grace is sufficient to cover you, His forgiveness is available simply because you ask and make the choice to change, and His love – it’s yours because you are precious. You may not always feel precious, and you may not understand how anyone could love you – let alone the creator of the entire universe — but it’s true. You are loved.

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The Last Six Weeks In Review – Fighting Cancer – Standing In Faith

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This morning I received a very sweet email from a friend and regular visitor of my blog. It served as a reminder that I have not been active on this blog in several weeks. Yes, I have had ample reasons, and quite honestly, I just haven’t felt up to writing as much as I had. With renewed strength, I am here.

As I have mentioned previously, we found out in April that my daughter had a brain tumor. In a long drawn out process that is not yet over, we have come to find out that the tumor was a high grade polyphenotypic malignant (cancerous) brain tumor. It is still apparently one of a kind, and doesn’t have a definitive diagnosis – yet! They are currently doing full genome sequencing to get to the DNA of it and discover more about the cell(s) of origin, etc…as that has continued to baffle her medical team and extended network of medical professionals. This thing is unique, aggressive and quite annoying. However, we’re not giving up OR losing hope. We have created both Caringbridge and a praying Facebook page for her. If you are interested in links to either, please comment below or send me a message via the contact me page.

These last weeks have been some of the most difficult of my life. Never in a billion years did I ever imagine I’d be walking a road and journey that included the words aggressive cancer – let alone with my four year old little girl. Many things have transpired, medically speaking, and it’s just all been exhausting – physically and mentally. We’re nearing the end of a six week (every weekday) radiation treatment with her, and then will have a few weeks off, only to start an aggressive chemo treatment for many months. As I have pondered all of this, I have done much soul searching, heart-checking, and digging deeper in and with my faith.

You see, it is my faith that has, in large part, sustained me through this process. I will admit though – my faith has had some rocky moments lately. It hasn’t been shaken to a point of falling, but I have had ample opportunity to question many things. Never once have I blamed God. Never once have I been mad at God, per se. I say it like that, because I have found myself mad just kind of at the world. A four year old should not have to fight for her life. Period. At one point, though, I realized that it’s actually healthy to question things. I felt almost guilty and like I lacked faith because I was frustrated basically. Not frustrated with God, but with the entire situation.

I’m going to be brutally honest here. I found myself asking some scary questions – as it pertains to faith. When I put my daughters situation in a little bubble, and thought of it alone (instead of everything else in my life) I found myself wondering why I even bother praying…why I even bother having a relationship with God when it changes nothing. My thought process took me to the line of reasoning (or rather lack thereof) that my prayers and my relationship with Him meant nothing – that, int he great scheme of things, the situation was still going on, she was still fighting cancer, and there was still all this stuff going on – even if I do pray. But, let me explain what point this all brought me to.

First, God doesn’t NEED me to be faithful. He is faithful, 100% of the time. His idea and mine aren’t always the same, but it doesn’t mean His plan isn’t already in action. Back to me. No, He doesn’t NEED me – however, He does DESIRE me. Just as I am a child of God, His precious daughter – I was reminded — my daughter is also. For reasons that still remain unclear, she is dealing with this. We are all walking through this journey. No, it is not a path anyone would choose for themselves, but here we are. But, what I have found is that my prayers, and my continuous seeking Him is not only important, but it is vital. Again – No, God doesn’t NEED my prayers to accomplish His mission. However, I do. I need the strength that comes from Him, and Him alone.

Even through all my soul searching, I have not walked away from God. In fact, even through the questions, I have opened my heart and allowed Him to shine. People continuously ask how I’m so strong, etc. In my own strength, I’m clearly not strong. In Him, His grace sustains me. His love is poured out in so many different ways – in large part through the people he has blessed me by having as a part of my life. It is with such heartfelt gratitude that I say thank you to God – then to each and every person in our lives right now who are allowing us to see His love. The gratitude we have for the love, support and encouragement we’ve gotten during this cannot be quantified with words. Like I said from the very beginning, this is not a road I wanted to walk alone — and I don’t have to. We are sincerely grateful for that.

So, while times have been tough to comprehend, walk through, or stand in faith on — I am still here, standing on faith and knowing that God’s got this whole entire situation. Even if things don’t go as we hope or plan, I STILL Know God is in control. I rest in the knowledge that He is still God, He is still good, and He IS in control…even when we don’t like or understand it.

Thank you to each and every one of you who support us in any way, shape or form. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus. It is through all of you that I smile and have my faith continuously renewed.