Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Like a Sad Song

This blog often contains references to the amazing grace of God. I know that our sins are forgiven and forgotten in heaven because of the love of God whose name is Jesus. Despite my own sinful nature and notorious failures, it is that gift of God that defines me before the throne on God Almighty- not my past. I know and believe that God's love is all I need, because love is always enough. But every now and then I am reminded that this world does not forgive so easily, and that it very seldom (if ever) forgets.

Most of you reading this know my story of sin and failure over 7 years ago. You know that I confessed, repented and have started life over again in many ways. You know that I served a probation and was granted an early termination this past April, having done anything that was asked of me during my supervised time. Freedom was mine- or so it seemed. Since then there have been a series of disappointments and frustrations in my life because of that single act committed in late 2006. I try to stay positive, and I try to press on. But the world keeps tapping me on the shoulder and reminding me of my sin. And it makes me sad. It is hard to escape your past when the system keeps reminding you of the worst thing about you.

The most recent reminder came at the end of last week. One of our neighbors (whom I had talked to numerous times while we were out walking dogs) appeared at my door one morning and said she needed to talk to me. She and her husband (they are an older couple) are trying to sell their house and have had all kinds of problems. They are currently on the third potential buyer. She told me that they were all but signed on the dotted line when this latest prospect discovered that I lived in the neighborhood. And now they were going to back out. My mere presence was scaring them away. My neighbor had not known of my offense previously, and she was there to get details and reassurance in the hope that she could change they buyer's mind. She listened to my story, and like many of you have been she was amazed that I shared it so openly and so easily. It was her opinion that I had more than paid the price for my crime and have rehabilitated myself, but she was not the one who needed to be convinced. She left in the hopes that she had enough information to do just that.

She did not. She was back a few hours later asking a few more questions and getting the phone number of my last probation office so the buyer could call. This mother- at least I assume there were kids and that was the reason for her concern- was about to give up a beautiful home in a great neighborhood simply because I live there. And that, my friends, was a hard dose of reality to swallow. I am still awaiting word on their final decision.

It continues to amaze me that my presence on a list because of something that happened over 7 years ago can still cause such turmoil in my life, let alone in the lives of others. I am not on the list because of law enforcement or the judicial system, I am there at the whim of legislators who years ago decided to "protect" the public from people like me by lumping dozens of different types of offenders on one easy-to-hate list. Instead of offering protection, this has led to great confusion as no one can differentiate the truly dangerous from the sinfully stupid.  This is not just my opinion- it is the opinion of law enforcement officials and counselors all over the country. But no lawmakers listen, because standing up for the rights of an offender like me is political suicide. So despite the love and support of so many friends and family (and neighbors, I might add) and the knowledge that God loves me, there are days I feel like a monster. People are avoiding my neighborhood because I live there. My spirits are often most easily defined through music. And this makes me feel like a sad song...

There are things none of us can control once they happen. We deal with consequences both earned and undeserved that enter our lives and bring us joy or sorrow. The thing that we must remember- each and every one of us- is that none of these earthly sorrows have any impact on the love of God in our lives. Jesus loves us no matter who we are, no matter what we have done and no matter what the world may say to us. Even as I struggle with feelings of sadness and inadequacy I can feel the arms of God wrapped around me, reminding me that He will never leave nor forsake me. My family and friends are by my side. And so despite feeling like a sad song, the song in my heart remains one of hope- because God's love is always enough. To continue this week's theme, I've gotta' keep pressing on...

Because of Jesus,


  1. Praying for you my friend.

    1. Thanks so much Andrea. I'm ok. Went from sad to pissed off to over it. But I do appreciate the prayers of so many friends!

    2. It is amazing how things we thought were settled are very not settled. Last night Drew and I were discussing some changes happening within the church. And I found myself angry and hurt and cynical all over again. The feelings stemmed from a situation that happened 3 years ago and at a different church. I thought it was a situation that I had dealt with and feelings that I had turned over to God long ago. But I went right back to the foot of the cross and picked them up again. I guess I need to go out then back down again and press on toward healing.

    3. It's so easy to find ourselves wrapped up in old hurts. But you are so right...we have to let go, let God, and press on.


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