The whole family went North this last weekend to visit my mother. It has become something of Bird family tradition: when death enters the camp somebody gets married. First when my cousin Nathanael died, his sister decided to get married to her fiancé a couple of days before the funeral. Now that my mom has been diagnosed with cancer she thought it would be a good time to get married to her 13 year long fiancé! So this last Sunday a simple wedding ceremony was performed where I ‘gave’ my mom away. Talk about a strange month! And its only the 5th. So in the span of less than 10 days we will have dealt with graduation, cancer and a wedding. I think I might just ask for an honorary TH.M.
We learned just a couple of hours ago that mom was admitted to the hospital today for pneumonia. Amy has been calling her every morning for a few days to make sure everything is O.K. and to start her day off with a bit of prayer. Today when Amy called mom sounded poor and after a Dr’s visit and some x-rays a trip to the E.R. was ordered. She will be there for the week for observation and treatment.
A little lesson I though I might pass on. My mom has always had a very compassionate streak in her. She has always felt very sympathetic to those who have had hard or difficult lives. This extended to the type of men she dated throughout my childhood and teen years. My mothers new husband was one such man when he came into my life. I wrote him off the day he walked through the front door and have spent the last 13 years spending as little time as possible around him, yes I have on occasion even been guilty of hate (or as Jesus called it, committing murder in your heart) towards him.
Over the last two weekends I have had a great opportunity to talk with Steve and learn some tremendous things that I had never known. I now understand him in ways that for 13 years I had tried to avoid. And while he is not what most of us might consider a knight in shining white armor the Lord melted my heart for him on Saturday April 26th. I was confronted with the choice of continuing to harden my heart towards this man but as I reflected on the 13 years he and my mom have been together and the extraordinary lengths that he is going through to care for my mom I was ashamed that this unbeliever could show so much more unconditional love toward my mom that I had shown to him. I professed a God of compassion, mercy and love but had not demonstrated any of those things to this man but had chosen instead to join the chorus of naysayers and those critical of him.
While there are elements that can be criticized any weakness in my mothers new husband, these weaknesses ought to have been met with the strength of God’s love, compassion and ability to save. I failed as an evangelist in this regard because of the hate in my heart towards him. I repent of this and would ask you if you have withheld the compassion of God from some person in your life because of hate toward that person? If so remember that God came in flesh to save those just like the person you may now be thinking of. You may object that you don’t really hate the person- have you held their hand and explained the Gospel? If you haven’t then you are like I was and are walking in the footsteps of the lawyer, the Scribe and the Pharisee while the man you hate lays bleeding and dying at your feet. Be the humble Samaritan and do what no one else would ever expect you to do- stop look at your Savior and then turn to minister in humility and compassion the witness of God. Confess your error and forsake your hatred and you will the compassion of God with which you must approach the former object of your hatred. I can tell you now that God does not bless hatred, even toward an unbeliever. He does bless compassion and mercy. I don’t turn a blind eye to sin now but neither do I turn a blind eye to the tremendous needs of this man either. The compassion of God has allowed me to embrace one I have spent so much time hating and to accept him for who he is where he is at right now in his life. The only hope for any of us- you, me and Steve is Jesus Christ. The people you hate will never see this through you.