Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Monsters Among Us

We got there as the skies were just turning from the black of night to the gray of early morning.  The streets ran like rivers from that night's rain that was still dripping heavy.  My son and I crossed the street and were thankful for flip flops that air dry quickly and don't sog up like tennis shoes and socks do.

We made our way up to the 6th floor.  We arrived before the staff had, so we waited in comfy chairs as I tried to keep him awake with small talk and playful banter.  As the staff trickled in we moved to the less comfy chairs in the waiting area for the EEG clinic.  The halls were quiet as we counted the minutes until 7:30 would come around. 

An older man who looked slightly frail, but not an iota weak rolled past us into the clinic.  A minute later he rolled back out in his electric scooter chair and parked next to our seats.  I smiled at him friendly like and he smiled back.  "I am soaked." he said.  After he said it I looked a little closer, past basic friendly acknowledgement, and I noticed that what I had taken for dark gray pants had really been light gray, but were now drenched into darkness.  The small patch of light peeked out behind his right calf testifying to the fullness of truth in his statement.

"You sure are!" I replied back with my profound ability to state the overwhelmingly obvious. 

He told me how a car had seen him on the side walk and drove close up to the curb to purposely splash him with a tidal wave of morning rain and then drove away laughing at his wetted state of being.

Again my profundity at stating the obvious was immense and I said, "How RUDE!"  Followed with me stating how I would like to just "smack that guy in the face." 

He nodded in agreement with me and told me how if he had "caught that guy" that "he would not have been laughing" when he got done with him.

And as I sat there with the drenched older gentleman who was waiting for his wife, the nurse, to bring him a raincoat, so he could go back home to change along with my head bobbing slightly snoring son who I was neglecting to keep awake, my blood began to boil white hot.  Hot with the injustice and cruelty of man and those who prey on others for nothing but their own folly.

This man with his soggy shoes and saturated baseball cap was the victim of all that is wrong in this world and it came too soon after a week of such stories where too many victims lay soaked in the sins of others cruelty. 

"Monsters Lord, they are monsters!" I spit out in prayer.  "They are what is wrong in this world, it is them!"  And no more did I say this to both He and myself when my blood ran cold with the realization that no, they are no different than me, because the truth is we are all the same.  We are all living in a world full of lies.  Lies that tell us that life is really just meaningless, there is no value in a person, no worth in the souls that are clothed in flesh. All that matters or doesn't matter, depending on which side of the lie you look at, is you.  And these men and boys and people who damage others for their own whims and their own pleasure they are the ones who ultimately are the biggest victims of all, because they have grabbed on tightest to the lie.

I shift my weight in the chair, nudge my son with my elbow to wake him up, and watch as the man and his raincoat roll away.  I don't like this realization.  I want there to be a them and an us, I want to categorize us into different categories so that I can assure myself that I am and never will be like them.  And He nudges my own soul awake, "If you do that, if you categorize them, you are them.  You are buying into the lie just as much as they are, because they become nothing, and baby they are not nothing.  They are souls clothed in flesh just the same as you." 

I shift again, nudge the snoring son awake again, and wonder if it is 7:30 yet, because the conversation in my head is getting rather uncomfortable, but it isn't and God keeps going.

"Every time you draw the lines, them against you, you all lose out."  And I think of all the lines we draw in this world. I think of how the church, me, the media, the various "sides" have all drawn lines upon lines of 'us vs. them'.  Then I think of how when Jesus came his biggest crime to the religious leaders of the time is that He erased all of their lines.  He didn't erase right and wrong, but He came saying that we as people are all souls worth saving and His message to everyone is "I am what you need". 

Lines are easy to draw.  Loving the soul next to me or the one on the other side of the latest scandal or news story and admitting that they are the same as me in value and worth, that is much harder, but every time I draw the lines I am telling the world that people don't matter and I continue to propagate the lie.

Straight vs. Gay

Black vs. White

Faith vs. Faith
Pro-life vs. Pro-choice 
My parenting choices vs. Your parenting choices
My sin issues vs. your sin issues
The lists and the lines can go on and on, but they all lie,  and they tell us that whoever stands on the other side of that line does not matter near as much as I do.  But here is where that lie gets ever so tricky, because if they on the other side of the line don't matter, if their choices/beliefs/actions negate the importance of their souls, then the reverse can also be true and ultimately I can stop mattering.  My choices, my beliefs, and my actions could strip me of my soul's worth and turn me into nothing more than flesh. And herein lies the real monster: the monster is the lie that none of us really matter.
The door to the right of us opens.  It is our turn to go in.  I nudge the snoring boy beside me and we both go in freshly awoken.
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:22-24
*I don't know who you are, the person who needs to read this last little bit, but I feel it very heavily that whoever you are, this needs to be added in for you.  There is only one line that will ever matter.  When you die there is a line drawn not for the worth of your soul, but for where it will go.  Christ's love is for everyone.  He draws no lines for who does and who does not deserve His love.  His love is like the best Christmas present you could ever open.  But like all good gifts He won't force it on you.  You have to choose to accept it and open it.  When that day comes the only thing that will matter is if you accepted His gift.  God wants you with Him that is His desire, but being a just God He knows that a gift is only a gift if it is accepted, if it is forced on you it is no longer a gift, because there is no choice in the matter.  Jesus is called the bridegroom over and over again in the Bible.  If a bridegroom hands you an engagement ring he is giving you a choice to marry him.  That is exactly what Jesus is doing.  He is giving you the choice.  If you say yes, this earthly bit is like your engagement and heaven is like your honeymoon.  If you choose to say no, God, on the day you die is not going to force you into marriage with His son, nor will you be able to change your mind.  Please choose wisely friend.*

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