I read something somewhere: If you live your life too safely, you will never know the thrill of seeing Jesus work through you.
I can’t help thinking of some of my most irresponsible friends and family members whose behavior seems anything but the responsible examples of what we are taught to be in church.
For example, my biological father has had more run-ins with the law than I (or he) can count or recall in his younger days. When I say younger, let’s be honest, he is in his fifties and his last brush was so several years ago. A great many of my childhood memories are haunted because of mistakes he made and took out on his family. We very much suffered for the sins of the father so to speak. However, he had his ‘Come to Jesus Moment’ when I was about twenty-three, and he lives by faith every single day for his basic provisions. He pressure washes homes for a living and to do so, he’s knocking on doors every day and depending on the yes, no, or cursing out of strangers to put gas in his vehicle and eat for the day. I marvel at his reports on how God provided because he really is like a bird not storing away in barns but managing to eat every single day.
I endured one of the worst legal battles concerning my children that I didn’t ask for, and my dad kept sharing stories of how even in his most disrespectful and doubting times, God came through and provided for him long before he gave his life over to the Lord. You might say God loved him even when it wasn’t reciprocal. My dad shares with me how he all but pissed on the judge’s podium in his hearing, but how afterward he was thrown in the slammer by furious cops. As he lay on the floor, a woman paused when she was walking by and asked, “Mike? Is that you?”
He looked up at the female officer and nodded. He’d washed her house only two months before while wearing an I ❤ Jesus hat. Talk about hypocrisy, but is it? When we love Jesus, does it always mean we will act just as he acted, or that our love for him is contingent on our own behavior? If we mess up, that our relationship is also screwed up?
And there you have it. No. Because Jesus is forgiveness. Beyond which I can comprehend or understand. We know how we are supposed to behave, the example we are supposed to set, but God knows we are human and we are going to screw up for the fact that we aren’t Jesus and we aren’t perfect.
The female cop got him released from jail in under one day because he’d been so nice to her at her house and had gone above and beyond in his work. At any other time, he may have looked like an out-of-control idiot who deserved to be behind bars for as long as they wanted just to get back at him for being such an asshole. Yes, I said it. Let’s call it like it is.
My father lives a reckless life at times, just as my friends who make thousands of dollars above their bills per month but seem to have a hard time paying them because of reckless spending, but when they see a need, they also fill it. They aren’t going out committing crimes or sinning away, but they definitely aren’t responsibly handling what they’ve been given for their basic provisions. They are spending it like they can’t take it with them… Hmmm… You might call them cheerful givers…
I’m fascinated by how God provides no matter their behavior. It’s almost as if Jesus and his angels are thrill-seekers and get to enjoy the rush of coming through for those who believe no matter how they’ve screwed up or how recklessly they spend, God is going to provide.
Obviously I’m not advocating an irresponsible life or abusing the Lord’s gift of forgiveness. I am saying, maybe we who have lives of our own ought to pray and love and judge the way we want to be judged, for we will be measured by the same standard we have held others to. That’s biblical.