Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done. Romans 2:1-2 The Message Version
I’m falling into a black hole; her face wet with tears; blackness induced by pain and drugs given to ease that pain. Where had she gone? Where was she going? My face wet with tears; I could not form words to pray; groaning with pain transferred to me in ways only mother and child connect.
“I’m here!” You said it clearly, Dear Lord. I knew You were indeed! I had no power, no control, no help to give. It was You, Heavenly Father, that brought her back to us for several more years! Thank You and Bless You for that!
Romans 10:9-13 The Message Version
The word that saves is right here, as near as the tongue in your mouth, as close as the heart in your chest. It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not doing anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!” Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.” Romans 10:9-13 The Message Version
I got the help that night and in the many nights, weeks, months, and years to come. We plodded on, literally one foot in front of the other; her mobility-severely limited-deteriorated over the next four years.
Our relationship sealed, I thought; wavered-rocky and turbulent as ever. What more could I do to help her, honor her, care for her? Why couldn’t these last years bond us closer?
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. Matthew 7:1-5 The Message Version
The last time I saw her she was crying. She said she wanted to make things right; she had a story to tell. Her gift was extravagant; no strings attached, she said. I cried all the way home. I knew to the core of my being that this would not turn out well; I cried; I cried; I cried.
Strings were attached; all the old hurts came gushing forward; out of my mouth spewed judgements, slights; not understanding-not caring at that moment whether her intentions were good, honest, and desiring of reconciliation. Those were the last words we had; I will live with this regret my entire life. Would that I could live those few days over; but that won’t happen on this earth.
Is that why I wonder where she is? Is it that we had unfinished business here? Am I judging our last meeting as par for the course? Am I reclusing myself from all blame? Am I thinking she’s receiving punishment for all the perceived slights aimed my way? If I am wondering this, surely I am judging and that is not mine to do. Am I damned? Am I the one wondering where these actions will take me? Am I bound for that deep dark hole? I want to see her again! I want to resolve all; I want only love to reign; is it possible?
I saw her again last night; the first dream I’ve had of her since passing; she was crying; I was crying; I was blaming her upset on another; I was outraged over her plight; how could someone who loved her treat her so cruelly? The selfish, unthinking, uncaring, unconcerned perpetrator was totally involved in their artistic process; it was confusing me; callously engaged on, off, behind, and out front of the stage she continued; no thought of how her actions had affected the one who gave her life. I awoke with tears streaming from my eyes. We were both crying again; we were both upset-wanting more-from each other.
Dear Lord, forgive me, please forgive me; she is with You and I can’t reach her to tell her; I know all is well with her there; she is one of Your children; but my soul aches; my eyes leak; my guilt weighs heavy. I pray someday we will both understand the ins, outs, ups, and downs of our complicated relationship. I loved her; I love her; I hope she loved me; I think she loved me; we just weren’t good at loving each other without judgement or criticism-without a high noon standoff.
The Lord is not slow in doing what he promised—the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to be lost. He wants everyone to change his heart and life. 2 Peter 3:9 International Children’s Bible
Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling
Words and Music: Will Lamartine Thompson 1847-1909
calling for you and for me;
see, on the portals he’s waiting and watching,
watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home;
ye who are weary come home;
earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
calling, O sinner, come home!
Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not his mercies,
mercies for you and for me?
Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
passing from you and from me;
shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
coming for you and for me.
O for the wonderful love he has promised,
promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, he has mercy and pardon,
pardon for you and for me.