Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Jesus, Friend of Sinners"

Okay, y'all had to know this was coming. 

I posted on my fb status the other day that I had heard this song, "Jesus, Friend of Sinners" and I had been significantly moved by it. 

So- before we go any further, take a listen, read the words, and process them.  (you'll love!):

As I texted to my friend, "It melted me into a pile of humbleness."

I think I've blogged before about the number of transients in this area.  Back where we-y'all came from (read that with a thick, country accent) we knew the homeless and hungry by their descriptions. "That guy who rides his bike, packed with crates full of pop cans." That's how few we, (I anyways) saw in Jackson. 

Down here, they're everywhere.  At almost every intersection, and lining the streets of touristy areas.  Just today I was approached by a woman while in the parking lot of Home Depot asking if I had a cigarette.  Immediately, I thought, "Cigarette?  What?  Go get a job and get some food!" 

I don't smoke, therefore, I didn't have a cigarette.  I simply said, "I'm sorry I don't.  But good luck with your search."  And tried to give a kind smile.  While in the back of my head, her face and the word, "pathetic" is flashing.

And then I remembered a line from this song, "Jesus, friend of sinners, open our eyes to the end of our pointing fingers."

I don't know this woman's story.  I don't know what brought her to the parking lot of Home Depot today, looking for a cigarette.  But Jesus does.  And that's all that matters.

There's that saying "faith like a child."  And I see it every day.  I see it when we're driving down the road and Maeve catches a glimpse of a dirtied man, holding a sign, asking for food.  "Oh mom.  He's hungry!  Let's say a prayer for him."  Amen Maeve.  In her eyes, all she sees is a hungry man.

I was talking with Misty, a sister friend of mine (we're kind of like twins) and we were going back and forth on whether or not to give what we have to the homeless.  Meaning, if we're stopped at a light, do we give them a buck?  Of course money is super tight right now, but we're not reduced to begging on the streets.  Therefore, I could certainly spare the change in my pocket, right?  99% of the time, I look straight ahead.  My eyes, dead locked on the car in front of me, trying to block out the reality that's next to my window.  In my head, I hear "If you give him money, he's going straight to the liquor store.  He won't use it on food."  And he certainly might march straight into that liquor store.  My point of this post, is so what if he does?  Is it my duty on this earth to judge what he does with my 58 cents?   I don't know his heart, but again, Jesus does. 

In every area of life, there is judgement.  I judge if the light is going to stay yellow long enough for me to slip under it.  I judge if that gas station looks too shady for a bathroom break.  I judge the person sitting next to me, across the room, down the street, across the country, etc.  You get the picture.  And while having good judgement is absolutely, incredibly necessary (ie- the shady gas station), I really need to make an effort at focusing on my own family, our faith, and where our hearts are with God. 
In short, this song describes me.  It gives me red cheeks when I hear it, because I've thought all those thoughts...  It also makes me want to lift my hands and worship, because I'm saved.  I can mess up over and over again, and admit to all my screw ups, think those judgemental thoughts; my slate has been wiped clean.

I hope this song brings you the same eye opening joy that it gave me. 

And I hope this made sense.  I won't and cannot be naive to the evil out there;  I have three precious children!

But I have a new prayer. Along with the "thank yous" for blessings and good times, and "pleads for help" with the hard times, I'll be praying; humble me, show me how to love like You and "break my heart for what breaks Yours."

And that's the end of my "over the edge, way-too-deep for a Thursday afternoon" post.



Anonymous said...

I love that song. And I agree. It's hard for me too because I never expect or take from others and politically, I don't believe in handouts at all, but I always give to people in need now because the money I have is God's, and also, who am I to judge where they will spend that money? I used to never give-ever. Now I feel led to. That person is God's child. I always say may God bless you and tell them I will pray for them. And I do pray right away: for the individual to see God's love and that the dollar(s) I gave may bless their needs. And I pray that I will always be a blessing to others, not a burden, as well as a blessing to God's kingdom.

Ashlee said...

Ash this post hit home! I just passed the song along to my friends. What an amazing message!

amj said...

I've always heard "give what you need". We don't have a lot of money either but I always try to have a dollar on me for when I'm asked. I always think it takes courage to ask....if I needed to, would I be able to ask a stranger for money?

Nicole said...

Awesome. Awesome song. Awesome post. (I hope you don't mind me commenting.... let me know if you do and I won't comment again)

Just last week we went to the Cruise In downtown and while I'm there enjoying my kids and husband and feeling a little bummed we turned down buying the kids cotton candy b/c we were trying to not splurge, I see a man digging in the garbage on the corner looking for bottles. And I ate myself a little humble pie right then and there. Here I'm feeling bummed because I knew we SHOULDN'T spend the money on cotton candy... but here is this man who is picking up bottles to get by (I'm assuming). Humble. Pie. And I silently thank God then and there that we had money to pay for the gas to get us there, we had the health to physically be there with our kids, and that we were getting that time to spend together... that we were blessed with everything that we had.

I always feel so so terrible when I see people on the corners with signs. I do the same as you... look straight ahead and try not to notice, or make eye contact. I always want to stop and do something, but I usually don't. ALthough, last year I did see a guy by the highway by Target with a sign, and I ended up turning around and giving him a Tim Horton's gift card I had b/c I didn't have any cash. Whenever I go to Chicago I dread seeing the homeless there. What is the right thing to do? Do you hand out a dollar or two to every single person you pass, every single day? I mean... I don't know.