And while I'm only on day 2, I can already feel myself changing a little...being more mindful of what it means to truly love. Not that I think I have it down, lots of work to do there, but it is on my mind and on my heart more than it was before. Maybe that's the simple power of God's word at work.
My sister texted me tonight about a woman she knows a little who is good friends with our cousin. This lady is a nurse at a high school, and her face is all over the news tonight because she is accused of having sexual relations with a female student. She's married with two sons, and I'm sure things are looking bleak for this whole family right now.
There are many things about this situation I don't understand. I don't understand this temptation and sin because it is not one I face (although, let me be clear, I face many others). I don't understand doing things to hurt one's family because of how fiercely protective I am of my own. And my heart aches for this family and whatever the future may hold for them. I hoped the news wasn't true...maybe she'd angered a student and this accusation was simple retaliation, but according to our cousin, it is true.
There will be a lot of hurt, a lot of anger, a lot of confusion - I can only imagine the extent of the fallout from this. I know this woman is part of a church, and I wonder what her fellow brothers and sisters will do with this news. Unfortunately, I don't think she will find much sympathy, love, and mercy there, but I'd be thrilled to be wrong, and I pray I am! I have no idea what the state of her heart is, how her friends, family, and church are dealing, or any of the surrounding circumstances, and I'll probably never know.
But I do believe I know what Jesus would do with this news. I do believe I know what His response would be. I think He'd be sad and hurt, but I don't think His love would waver one bit. I think He'd acknowledge her sin as sin, but He'd be waiting with open arms to forgive, heal, strengthen, and help her leave it behind if she wanted to. I believe we see examples of this over and over again in the Bible, and I believe we, as followers of Christ, are to respond in similar fashion.
I know there must be consequences for breaking the laws she broke, and I agree those should be upheld. But I wonder what would happen if we treated her exactly as Jesus would if He were here in the flesh.
I'm a little surprised by my own response, knowing how I usually think about such stories (the main reason I don't keep up with the news in the first place). Outrage, judgement, a shake of the head, a "how could she" or two, and I'd leave it at that. But a mere two days reading about love in the Bible, and my heart begins to change... I can see the transformation in myself and I can see it is good.
But for now I will pray and ask the God of love to shower it on those involved here who are hurting so much tonight. Join me.