Monday, February 11, 2013

Shock Therapy

Whenever I read a story about grace, mercy and forgiveness – specifically a tale that details a heinous, unthinkable crime that is forgiven by the victim – I tear up. I can’t help it.
Like a story I read recently in Dr. David Jeremiah’s book Captured by Grace about a woman who, via a horrible traffic accident caused by some joy riding teens, had every bone in her face broken. The pain she suffered physically, the surgeries she endured for reconstruction, the scars she bore all described in the book send shivers down my spine. The teen driver stood trial, pleading guilty, clearly remorseful and sorry while standing in the courtroom mere feet from his innocent victim. But when it came down to sentencing, though some of the expected jail time was included, the judge drastically reduced the penalty because the victim requested it. She told the teen that day, “I forgive you. I want your life to be the best it can be.”
Come on. You got warm fuzzies, right? A little choked up? Smiled at least?
Why? Because it describes an amazing act of grace.
In the same chapter, Dr. Jeremiah says, “Grace is shocking – something like the heavenly converse of a traffic accident. When love is returned for evil, we can’t help stopping to rubberneck. Grace is the delivery of a jewel that nobody ordered, a burst of light in a room where everyone forgot is was dark.”
Love that. Grace is shocking… because it goes squarely against our self-centered, sin-hungry flesh.
I wonder if I’d have as much grace and courage to impart in a situation like the one above, even though I know God has done the same and more for me. If faced with such a thing, would I be able to forgive?
I’d like to say yes, but who knows until the experience occurs. Still, we can allow our minds to be cultivated to that end for not only the tragic events in life, but for the every day ones as well. Here’s how…
Remember that you’re the dirt.
Last Wednesday, I wrote about the same idea in a general sense (CLICK HERE if you missed it). But I’ve been thinking more on it and I decided that more than anything I need to remember that I’m the dirt. Not the farmer or the seed or the rain or the sunshine. I’m the dirt. I am that which is being tended for crops, growth, harvest – I am not the one tending my soil neither the soil in another field. And just like I need the grace of plowing, planting, fertilizing, rain and sunshine, so does my neighboring field. Because, we’re all dirt. Equally dirt. My dirt is no better or worse than my neighbor’s dirt because anything good coming from either plot will be of the Holy Spirit’s tending. In fact, there should be no comparing dirt at all. Because, like I said, we all are… dirt, that is.
So when a situation like I retold at the beginning comes about, neither party suddenly becomes not dirt. And since The Farmer has already deemed your dirt valuable and redeemable, how can another clod of dirt deem another clod of dirt not valuable and redeemable?
Pain and suffering offences and absorbing wrong done to you is tough, and a lot of times it lures our self-centered selves into a attitude of being owed something or being better than someone. Not exactly the environment in which grace can thrive. Remembering that we’re all dirt and that The Farmer found value in us while we were yet fallow and worthless ground, that’s when grace can grow. After all, The Farmer… okay, Jesus, I’m talking about Jesus obviously… He endured more pain, suffering, offences and wrongs than all of us combined – literally. And He still said, “Father, forgive them…”
Have a beautiful week, Dry Ground friends!