Last week my girls and I went to see Gnomeo & Juliet. May I tell you my favorite part? The best part of the movie is when David Hasselhoff’s head bobbles across the computer as a screen saver. I’m cracking up right now thinking about it.
Anyway, I digress.
As we left the theater, our giggling was interrupted by a horrific sight in the parking lot. Our car, baby-seat and all, had been vandalized…fractured windows, shattered glass, and crushed doors. There were also broken beer bottles and used cigarettes scattered around the cracked pavement.
The scene looked like a big ol’ mess.
I felt like a big ol’ mess as I stood there in disbelief.
I felt weak.
I felt victimized.
I got a little stressed. I cried and yelled a little. I wanted to cuss and spit on something. My face flushed into a new shade of red and my eyes flared-up with anger. Out of all the cars in the parking lot, why mine?
Put down the violins y’all, because this is more than just a sob story. The point of rehashing my Friday afternoon mayhem isn’t to wallow in it, but to share two important lessons God taught me in the middle of it.
Needless to say, the ride home was nippy. Gushes of blazing, snowy wind whirled through the gaping holes in our car. My daughter Samantha said with a crackle in her throat, “I think we should pray for whoever did this because they don’t have Jesus in their heart.”
I felt the pinching sting of failure wreck my heart. While that sweet “thang” in the backseat was speaking over high winds about mercy, her Mama had justice and revenge on her mind.
Pray for them? Are you kidding?
God-Sized Lesson Number One
Instead of entertaining thoughts of stringing up the offender, I needed to rush to the throne of grace and beg for strength beyond what I could muster.
How quickly we jump towards justice while Jesus requests our mercy.
My mind became tangled in a blur of thoughts, “I don’t want to pay for someone else’s crime.” Right then Jesus interrupted me. He spoke truth directly to my heart, “That is exactly what I did for you. I paid the price for something you did.”
God-Sized Lesson Number Two
My daughter’s desire to pray for the offender flooded my mind and rung out my soul like a wet dishcloth. My grumbling heart paused. My thoughts redirected. The unsettled bones in my body came to rest. Even though I didn’t feel like praying, I joined hands with my baby girls anyway.
What a great time to practice…
“Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person.” Luke 6:27-28 (MSG).