I have to start somewhere when writing a blog post. I really don't follow the rules when it comes to writing. Everything I have ever been taught about writing I'm not sure I comply with closely. I just know that when I want to say something...I say it. When I want to write something I write it.
So here we go...
I am not ignorant. I realize I live in a world where good is called bad and bad is called good...at certain times and with certain people. *Yes, I will clarify my partially blank statement.* Notice the word certain. I realize that grown young men can walk into a school building and in cold blood kill 20 first graders. I realize that in places of the world children are used as sex slaves and there may be no one to intervene for them...ever. I realize that the world we live in has some absolutely dark places that need light shined on its dwelling place.
And in my dwelling place there are lives being lived, plans being made, prayers being prayed, mistakes being made, forgiveness given and taken, honesty pushed for being spoken, truth wanting to be known, and on and on I could go. I live in a country, on a street, that houses other children. Mine are housed here on this street, my kids, that is. And here's the reality...
There are absolutely no guarantees in life. I really do know that, but sometimes I forget.
I'm here in this house with my six kids and my desire is to raise kids that are different. Different good, be just who they are different and what I call...Jesus-different. For now, in a lot of ways my kids are just kids...they do kid things, like most other children. They lose tempers, fight with each other, they disrespect their parents at times and flat out do some crazy things...things you will not want to expect. I try to keep my high hopes that I have for them in check with reality. But hey, I am not settling for anything less than what I hope for in certain areas of their life. Notice the word certain. Clarity. Clarification.
For one...I want my kids to be kind to others. I can't stand bullies and I don't want to be one. Whether or not I was one in the past is debatable and whether or not I could be a person like that in the future is debatable, but, nevertheless...I absolutely can not stand bullies and bullying itself. This is one of many areas of life I strive to guide my children through with reckless abandon.
The point is that I am constantly teaching my children...and the lesson for this week is mercy. Yeah, the word mercy, and actually the lesson is for me, on this street where I live. And yes, in my neighborhood there's something that has happened that would cause me quite a stir. While we were out of town, two of the neighborhood boys decided to let themselves in our home and partake of the internet in every unsavory way possible. One boy is a like a son to me and the other boy comes around occasionally. We always track our history to keep our kids safe on the internet and make sure where they have been and in doing so we noticed that on the days we where gone there was so many disturbing links clicked on, it was a list to drop your jaw to the floor to be sure. Sad and scary. Scary and sad.
My first reaction was obviously anger. But after a couple of days I thought hard and long on the situation and realize much more now than I didn't at first glance.
These kids need to understand more than one thing...but the main thing I see that they need more than anything is the grace of Christ which leads to the power of Christ which leads to the fruit of Christ and what needs to come from my end of things is one word...mercy.
When Jesus died on the cross He was obviously mistreated in every possible way on His way to His own torment. He was mocked, spit upon and insulted. And His response to this unruly, cruel crowd?
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
And I have to argue with that prayer. These grown people didn't know what they were doing and had no control over what they were doing and couldn't decide to do something different on that given day?
Yes, their physical bodies and their physical actions were known to themselves quite intimately and were chosen on purpose, but what Jesus is talking about when He prayed that prayer is different. His point being made was based on their circumstances, on their Jewish culture of the time, on the lies being told about who Jesus was and what He did in that time frame. These people where shouting..."Crucify Him!" because they believed that He was a false Christ and that the Messiah had not really come yet. Yes, they really believed that Jesus was doing something bad. Their hearts and minds were blind and in essence, did not understand what they were doing. They were carrying out actions based on their circumstances and Jesus was not faulting them for that. Wow, that is just like Him. Only He could do such a thing on such a day in such circumstances and in you, through you, too on your days and in your circumstance.
And knowing this instance in scripture I see the same thing with these boys. They simply and seriously do not even begin to understand what will happen to their minds, their hearts, their souls, their bodies, their compulsions if they continue to follow the path they are on. And so many, let's not be naive, kids are riding the internet wave of porn, and I mean the hardcore porn, violent videos and video games, and just flat out weird, creepy, demonic crud to boot. This is what is considered normal, this among a long list of other things I am sure.
And I know. I have lived that life before. I am not immune to the darker parts of society. I have seen my share of porn. I have fed my mind with garbage and was allowed to feed my mind with garbage growing up. Unfortunately. And to my demise...those images have not left me. The porn tape my neighborhood friend popped in the flashing box when I was eleven is sadly still with me. And the way women where demeaned and used in the film is still with me. But, hey, it was her dad's tape and it was to her, totally normal, good and fine. And the bottle of vodka in the fridge was too. And who knows what else. She didn't "know" what she was doing either.
So what keeps me from these things today or from desiring to do these things? Lest I deceive you, it's been a battle. There have been times I exposed myself to movies and other things that I should not have. I haven't always been faithful to keeping my mind pure, but I will say that the mercy of Christ has overwhelmed my life. His forgiveness and guidance has been my go to. These boys don't see that need yet, or maybe they do and they just got caught in a trap on a given day and simply need some guidance of their own. Guidance from their guardians.
And who are their guardians? One is listed as a sex predator with the State. One tragically died when his son was five. One is in and out of jail for whatever and has abandoned her rights to raise her son.
That says it all. Me? I pray for mercy, I pray for awareness in their souls, I pray for a voice in me that feels weak and is shuttering to think what I might say to these boys who are in, around and at my home almost every single day. I want to make my life and my words count for something to these kids, but what, where do I begin? I think I will begin with mercy. Mercy, on the street where I live and I hope and pray that you will have mercy on the street where you live.