I FORGIVE YOU

By Leigh Hudson: I get paid to talk. Well, actually, to listen. But I do talk some. I’m a counselor and I spend most of my days sitting in a comfortable chair listening to clients share uncomfortable stuff.  It’s funny how easy it is to urge the wounded and hurting, who only want justice, to instead extend grace, when you’re sitting in that comfortable chair.

But then the tables are turned. Two twenty-five pound rocks – boulders really – crash through our front windows at 2am. Then, 7 months later, it's two twenty-five pound pumpkins, also at 2am, through the same two windows.

Call me crazy, but spending $1,000 on replacing custom windows and blinds – twice – is not exactly my favorite way to shop. And I love to shop.

Afterwards, I recognized the familiar feeling of being violated, along with feelings of fear, anger, and entitlement. “How dare they….” Deep down, I knew I needed to extend grace, but all I wanted was justice!

The thing is, I have been the recipient of ridiculously scandalous grace throughout my life, most of it before I even knew God:

  • Grace 17 years ago, that saved my life while being gang-raped – body violated, clothes torn, and spirit broken.
  • Grace 15 years ago, that revealed the empty hole in my heart, unfulfilled by drugs, alcohol, sex, money, or education.
  • Grace 10 years ago, that invaded me as I sat on my kitchen floor planning my suicide. Then grace, the next day, when I finally turned to Christ as a last resort.
  • Grace last month, that forgave me as I worshiped creation instead of the creator.
  • And grace today, that gave me words as I fumbled through a difficult conversation.

Yet when we were vandalized twice in seven months, grace just didn’t come to my mind.  It was my husband who inspired me as he walked outside with a sharpie and wrote a Bible verse on one of the boards. “The other board”, he said, “is yours.” Wow. Could it be that simple?

And just like that, God pricked my arrogant heart and reminded me of all my second chances. The person responsible for the vandalism is no different from me: a person in need of grace. Jet-black marker in hand, standing on a wobbly stepladder in my flowerbed cluttered with chards of broken glass, I released grace upon grace with each letter, forming the words We Forgive You.

As I walk around our neighborhood, there’s a stark contrast between the plywood covering our windows and the light streaming through our neighbor’s windows.  And I can’t help but wonder: is two thousand dollars too high a price to pay for a lesson in grace? No, I think not.

Have you ever found yourself wishing for justice over grace?

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