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I have attempted to write this at least 3 times now. I'm still struggling to find the words. Wrestling matches with Jesus typically happen as I lay awake in my bed at night. His strong, gracious hand presses on my heart and I am unable to sleep until I hear Him.
What do you want to say, Jesus? What's under the surface of all the protests, posts, tweets, videos, politicians, etc? What are we missing?
What we see on the surface is not the only truth here. I need to see what You see.
As I prayed, He opened my eyes. He began to connect the dots between my sadness, anger, hurt, hope and people - real people.
I saw a woman sitting alone in her apartment. Shades drawn on the windows as well as her heart. She had long since turned off the regurgitation of the 24 hour news channels. She couldn't take it anymore. Their voices, so full of outrage, hatred, revulsion - all directed at her. She made a mistake. She felt she had no other option. How would she take care of a baby? Who would hire her? How would she even begin a career? It seemed to be the answer then, but now? Emptiness and confusion.
A baby. What would she have looked like? Would he have giggled as easily at simple things - the way she did? Would her hair have the same funny way of standing up in the front? Athletic or nerdy? Hard-driving, type A or subdued thinker? She wanted to talk about these things, but who would listen without judging her?
Who would sit with her? Who would listen with a compassionate heart, understanding her deep brokenness and hurt? The church? Christians? No way. They were the ones with torches and pitchforks, leading the charge to publicly shame everyone involved - at least, that’s how it seemed.
The picture changes, I see Someone else in the room.
He sits next to her in the corner of the dark room. He holds out scarred hands, tears in His eyes.
He loves her.
I can tell there's no "have to" in his response. He wants to be there. The love He has for her runs deep. The same way it ran deep when he poured out his life for her on the cross. For the depth of her sin and the darkness of my sin, required the eternal depths of His grace. He freely gave. Everything.
Oh precious is the flow that makes me white as snow.
But I'm not in that room. Selfishly, I'm still trying to figure out what response will produce the least amount of conflict. And "the question" still haunts me.
How will we share the Gospel with them?
Protests and petitions have their place, but there's only one protest in history that truly accomplished all that it stood for.
A cross with a bleeding man sits alone on a hill outside the city of Jerusalem. The reason for His protest? The deepest, darkest sins and evils of humanity for all of time hold captive a world that He loves. On that cross, the holocausts of the innocent, the betrayals of those who said they would be committed for life, the greed, lust, anger, murder, pride, idolatry, slander, on and on ad nauseum. All of it was protested with all of Him.
Jesus stood alone, against the brokenness of humanity. Resolute, with an eternal plan, He would not stop until it was finished.
This ends here.
But I'm not in that room, nor am I on that hillside. How can I get there? How can I join His perfect protest? How do I forgive? How do I stand with Jesus?
Corrie ten Boom spoke at a church in Germany, years after WW2. She proclaimed the truth that our sins had been buried on the bottom of the ocean, unable to be retrieved once Jesus had forgiven them.
A man came forward. She recognized him. Could it be that one of the cruelest guards during her time as a prisoner at Ravensbruck was walking toward her?
He reached out his hand and asked for forgiveness: "A fine message, Fraulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!"
She stood frozen, unable to respond. How could she even look at this man, who had watched as she and her sister were stripped of their clothes and processed into Ravensbruck? His reputation as a ruthless, brutal guard was unforgettable, yet here he was asking for forgiveness.
Corrie prayed: "Jesus, help me!"
She lifted her hand to grab the former Nazi's hand. As their hands joined, she felt a current rushing through her arm to his. Jesus was answering. He was freely giving grace, love and compassion to forgive. His love was empowering her to love.
Tears filled her eyes and the words spilled from her mouth, "I forgive you, brother! With all my heart!" Never had she experienced God's love with such intensity. It was overwhelming.1
How will we share the Gospel with them?
As for me, I will reach for a very old sign in protest. The sign of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In faith and hope, I am asking, "Jesus, help me."
How about you?
1. Corrie Ten Boom, Tramp for the Lord (Berkley, 1978), pp. 53-55
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