I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Overflow.







These words have been running through my mind. It doesn’t matter what bookstore you’re in, what denomination you claim (if any), your age, your ethnicity, what political party you’re affiliated with, nobody quite knows how to answer the questions that loom when these things happen. I’m quite certain you can walk into any bookstore and find countless people’s opinions on these subjects. Be cautious if you ever read an author claiming to have all the answers to these things.

In spite of having no answers, one thing is sure; they DO happen. From the abandoned child left in a dumpster, to the mother who murders herself and her children, to the untimely death of a loved one, to the spirit broken by hate-filled words, to the orphaned child crying in the night…….suffering happens.

We have no answers…..which makes it hard to handle. Which makes some people not handle these things at all. They just look away and shut the doors of their very souls on these hurting ones.

Then there’s grief. Twelve steps, no-- fourteen now? Which stage are we supposed to be in now….I’ve lost count. And when should it end? (does it?) We better not talk about grief, because we all know that makes people uncomfortable.

So still, people walk away….choosing to ignore the very REAL hurt they carry around….as well as the hurt of others.

Then there’s the flipside….there are those who forgive such heinous crimes. There are those who forgive even when they’re not asked for that forgiveness. There are those who have done horrible things, yet receive mercy. How can this be? They do NOT deserve it!!! LOOK at what they did?!?!? The evidence is there, they KNEW better….yet they still did it, over and over again. They knowingly hurt many people, they need to PAY!!!

For some, this is simply unacceptable. Heinous acts deserve to be punished. How DARE they be forgiven!!!

So they do what it takes to make people pay. They speak out. They hold rallies. They bomb places. They openly pray for the demise of these horrible people who’ve messed up tremendously.

This FASCINATES me. The culture we live in is fixated on making people pay, yet wanting a “get out of jail free” card for themselves. We do NOT like to see other people receive mercy, yet we BEG for it for ourselves. We do NOT offer grace freely….yet we pray for it and accept it so easily.

We don’t mess with talking about the things that don’t fit into our boxes.
And we like our boxes.

If you don’t fit, you’re not invited.

If you are going through something we can’t explain, please exit now.

If you are doing things we don’t approve of, sorry….no invitation.
Come back when you fit in.

And boy oh boy….do we LOVE telling people how wrong they are!!! How much they’ve messed up! We ADORE making sure everyone knows how this guy over here and that gal over there just cannot get it right. They really need to be prayed for…….until they look just. Like. Us.

Many of us have become mirrors of Job’s friends.

But here’s the thing with all the words that have been running through my mind. They can’t be explained. They don’t fit. They are M E S S Y. They overflow and spill out, getting everything dirty and messy. Then we have to take time out of our “spiritual” lives and actually spend our energy on cleaning it up. Grief. Death. Suffering. They touch every part of our lives, drowning us in tears, as the Psalms say. And mercy and forgiveness……they’re MUCH too big to fit in our boxes. We don’t deserve them. Ever. They can’t be contained…..but isn’t that the beauty in them?? Isn’t that the beauty in tears, in laughter…..that they always spill out?? That they touch us inside in a place that’s simply too strong for words?...

What do you want to be known for?? For the person who was against this, against that, who brought about vengeance!!!

Or do you want to be known for the person who cried with your friend who just found out her husband was unfaithful to her?

Do you want to be known for the one who rallied against those ignorant *insert political party here*!!

Or the one who took care of the family who was having a rough time and couldn’t pay their bills?

Do you want to be known for the one who preached and preached against this and against that!!!!

Or the one who preached love, mercy, and peace…..?

I think sometimes we spend an awful lot of energy playing judge and jury when we should be sitting in the witness stand for those who are hurting.

We like to demonize, yet we call it “evangelize”.

From what I’ve seen over the past few years, people don’t know what to do with hurting, suffering, death, poverty……..so they don’t try to understand it. And for the ones who do, they’re busy telling everyone else how they OUGHT to be behaving, how they OUGHT to be grieving, how they OUGHT to be mirroring them…….

From what I’ve seen, this culture, this “Christian” culture has become a place that’s not….so……Christian.

This shouldn’t be. Knowing there are views like this of the church should change us…..knowing the church has had a big hand in oppressing the already oppressed should bother us….does it?