Guessing what was coming next I asked- did he get in trouble for graffiti? Those were not the right words to say as I listened to the reason his son had been sent to the youth detention center. I was not expecting what I heard next- "no it is very embarrassing my son was arrested for some inappropriate actions he had with his brother. " I wasn’t carrying on a conversation with someone that didn’t know God or was far from the church. Rather this was a close dear friend who loved God and did his best to bring up his children the same way.
I am at a loss- when I say and desire to be in people’s live do I really know what that means? Superficial relationships are easy, there is no dirtiness, no hurt, no pain. How many more people are dealing with deep issues but we aren’t there to listen? How many of the close people we go to church/small group with are dealing with life shattering issues? When we ask people how they are doing- what do we do when they respond honestly?
I am coming closer to believing that most people I come in contact with have serious issues. Maybe I am involved in abnormal people’s lives. I would say I am not scared when I hear situations like this but I am. I don’t know what to say to my friend. I don’t know what can be said that his family will never be the same. I am not even worried about saying words of wisdom but rather comments that are insensitive.
It is easy to not get involved in these type of situations. All we have to do is say pat simple answers, leave it in God’s hands and walk away. Of course God is in control and God is with them always. But does that mean that we get to walk away? Does that mean that they don’t need others on this horrible journey? Is that our job as Christians to fix things? If situations don’t change do we walk away?
I have way too many questions and not a lot of answers. This morning I saw how this walking together looks like. I was in Porter county jail doing baptisms for some recent converts of Jesus and one of the girls shared her story with us. She has pleaded guilty to a crime and she is looking at a 30-year prison sentence. The crime she plead guilty to was causing the death of her child. She is from Arkansas had only lived in Porter County for a month before becoming incarcerated. She has a fiancee (who she had moved up here to be with) is contemplating whether to stay with her or not. It seemed from our conversation that her relationship with family was not good. The hospital chaplain had done the funeral for her son that was the only "religious person" she knew in Indiana. No one was walking this journey with her.
Then came Amy. Amy came to Christ while she has been locked up. Her crime in our eyes is not nearly as severe. Even in the penal system inmates are very judgmental of each other and a person that kills their own child is not looked at with fondness or compassion. Amy stepped out of her comfort zone to walk with this young woman. Helping the least of these is not easy in any setting. Amy has shared, led a Bible study, and introduced this girl to Jesus. Amy has walked the journey with her. Even with scrutiny, and raised eyebrows from others Amy has walked with a person that Jesus loves and wants to have a relationship with.
I believe this is what we are called to: walking with other people and steering them in the direction of Jesus’ love, grace, mercy, and justice. As I walk this journey with others my faith comes in knowing that God will do the fixing,
I just get to enjoy others as we walk this path. Please be in prayer for the family who is dealing with this situation with the son in youth detention and the girl who is struggling with the concept of forgiveness for what she did to her child in jail.