Then if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, if they will pray and seek Me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14, NCV
Friend to Friend
Our daughter Danna tries to shield her nine-year-old son from the gory parts of this world. Justus gave his heart to Jesus when he was five years old. It was the real deal! Since that day Justus has been so sensitive to the pain of others and seems compelled to do something that will make the situation better. When he can’t, he is desolate.
Danna tried to talk him out of making a decision for Christ. I mean, he was only five. Could he really understand the decision he was making? Justus was not having it! Every night at bedtime he said, “Mom, I’m ready! I want to give my heart to Jesus!” Danna went through the steps we must take to fully surrender our life to Jesus until the night Justus looked at Danna and her husband Sam and said, “Look guys, I’m giving my heart to Jesus tonight – with or without you!” Danna and Sam raced to Justus’ room, knelt beside him, and listened as Justus prayed what they said was the most amazing prayer they had ever heard. As parents, they knew eternal business was conducted that night.
Justus has always been sensitive and compassionate, but after he gave his life to Christ, that sensitivity and compassion seemed to grow more intense as he learned what it means to follow Jesus.
Sidebar: Dan and I raised our children Danna and Jered in South Florida. Dan pastored Flamingo Road Church for over 13 years, so South Florida is home to our kids. When we heard about a shooting in which several high school students were killed, I was furious! That school was about 10 minutes from the church we had once served. It was devastating!
Being the spiritual giant that I am, I wanted to find the man who had murdered innocent men, women and children and take him apart. Not Justus. He watched the news and covered his eyes every time a new replay of the horrific would come until his eyes filled with tears and he could not watch any more. At dinner, with clenched fists, he prayed, “God, please be with all of those families who lost one of their kids today.” Justus will do anything within his power to help someone in pain. Our daughter said that as she listened to Justus, she was asking God to find the young man who had committed the crime and make him pay. Then the voice of her young son pierced her heart, “And God, please help that man who shot all the kids give his heart to You so You can fix it. Please send someone to tell him how much You love him! Please, Jesus! He just needs You.” Danna said everyone, including Justus, seated at the table was weeping by the time Justus finished praying.
I am a fixer – but I had honestly been hoping that the police would catch the shooter and slam him in jail where he belonged. I did not want God to fix his heart. I know. I should know better. I do. I was just angry and wanted to see the shooter pay for what he did – a hideous crime of unspeakable pain and life-shattering sorrow.
Justus was deeply concerned about the parents of the kids who were shot. “Mimi, what about all of the moms and dads who try to pick up their child from school … but their kid was killed? What do they do then?” With tears streaming down his beautiful cheeks, Justus then got to the heart of the matter. “Mimi, that man who shot all of those people just needs Jesus,” Justus said.
Justus went straight to the true heart of the matter – the heart of the shooter. Jesus does the same thing. He goes straight to our heart.
Jesus looks beyond our faults and sees our need. With compassion and love, He then offers grace and healing to fix our hearts on Him.
I want to be like Justus. And I want to be like Jesus. I want to weep for those whose pain is so great that they are compelled to dispense sorrow and hurt freely. May we all be able to look past their faults and see their need – Jesus. May we come to the place where we can do what Jesus did for us – forgive the unforgivable.
Father, I come to You in shame, asking You to break my heart for those who are broken – just like me. Forgive me for not making the choice to love the young man who, out of desperation and his own pain, responded with pain and destruction. Father, help me to see those who need You through Your eyes of love and grace.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What person in your life needs to understand that no matter what they have done or not done, Jesus loves them and stands ready to take them into His arms of love and forgiveness? Ask God to open the door for you to share that unconditional love and bottomless forgiveness.
More from the Girlfriends
We all must face and deal with anger on a daily basis. Anger itself is not sin. But if we cling to that anger, it hardens our hearts and grows into an unforgiving spirit. Get Mary’s book, “You Make Me So Angry” and learn how to effectively deal with your anger. Connect with Mary through email or on Facebook. And be sure to sign up to receive Mary’s new blog!