Just a few words that describe my Sunday .
I can honestly say that yesterday was THE single most, and worst day, I have ever had the displeasure to be part of day, at church for me and my family. Especially my beloved daughter and her boyfriend.
The day started out just as every Sunday usually does for Bob, me, and our pretty Possum. The exception for this Sunday was that the very sweet young man who loves and adores our lovely daughter, was driving 2 hours to come to church with her and us.
Possum's young man lives in Midway, Tennessee. He is probably the ONLY real Yankee redneck I will ever meet. He is from New Jersey, and has that typical New Jersey, New Yorker accent, he is Italian, respectful, kind, caring, HONEST, and so very much more. He loves our daughter just as she is, he adores everything about her. For the first time in probably 6 or 7 years I can honestly say my daughter truly has that wondrous sparkle in her eye. KWIM??? She is so very good for him, and he is even better for her. These two truly compliment each other, and they "fit" together like a hand and a glove.
We were all just over the moon with excitement that Justin (we just call him Tennessee) was coming to town and coming to church with us. Christina always invites everyone she knows to come to church. She doesn't nag, or become better-than-thou, and rudely persistent, nor does she spend time pointing out their sins, flaws, or other problems in their lives. She knows that is the Lords business and not hers. She just knows that she wants her friends to come to church, hear the Preaching of God's word, and she prays for her friends regularly. She is always inviting her friends, and she cares not who they are, what color they are, and she judges NOT their life styles. She merely keeps trying to get them in church. I personally find this to be a wonderful thing. Our daughter has learned from our example.!
Yet, as much as she tries, over and over again, to bring LOST people, or even the back slid friends, or....I don't know....maybe a boyfriend who was raised in a Catholic church (not that we are critical of this in anyway...let me just say that right up front!!! So please do not become offended.), as much as she tries over and over and over again to bring ALL her friends to church, something happens. One of Christina's close friends is a young woman who is living an alternate life style. Christina met her through her previous job working at a hotel. Christina likes everybody. She and this young woman became friends. She knew right from the start how Christina felt and believed about "that" kind of life style, but Christina has been raised to "NOT" be ugly or overly judgemental to those living sinful life styles. Love, kindness, honesty and being friendly will oft' times gain more ground with sinners, than finger pointing, harsh judgements, or other unchristian like behaviors!!!!!! This young woman started coming to our church, and after a period of weeks, she began asking Christina, Bob and myself a lot of questions about Christ, and salvation. BUT....someone who was unkind, judgemental, rude, and overly pias, basically pushed this young woman away from church, and know she will never come to church. She even told us she had been thinking about getting saved, and she had lots of questions. But things happened, being unkind happened, being "holier than thou" happened, and NOT walking in Christian love happened, and yet again, another sinner was pushed out of God's house.
OK, so we got past that and moved forward.
Now, something worse has happened, and a very important person in our lives, was judged WRONGLY, paranoia, fear, ran rampant, lies and untruth's were told (and we know for a fact that they were because when people lie....they never say the same thing twice in the same way!!!!) We personally heard one of these lies from the mouth of someone involved. WE caught one of the untruths our selves. Sheriff's officers were called, a long period on time was spent standing in a church parking lot being questioned over and over and over, and those with whom we go to church could do nothing but just ever so rudely and hurtfully stare at us!
My daughter is BEYOND HURT!!!!
There are NO words to fully describe what they have done to my daughter and her beau!
The officer's (who were threatening to haul my daughter's boyfriend off to jail "INITIALLY"), later, after hearing Justin repeatedly tell the same story over and over and over and over and over....GET THE POINT! Tell things the same way continuously!!!!!, and after checking with the authorities in Tennessee and New Jersey, to follow up his concealed carry permits, and LEARNING THE TRUTH WITH OUT RUSHING TO THE WRONG JUDGEMENTS about partial information that is disclosed when backgrounds and records are called for from the authorities!!!!!!! They told us
"THEY SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN CALLED,
THIS WAS UN-NECESSARY, AND TO HAVE A NICE DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bob and I really do understand the need to be careful and cautious, and we understand the need for these things especially in today's society and in a place where we willingly bring the unknown homeless into our church, yet we also know all to well that many people are beyond paranoid, but what happened yesterday....was unbelievable! We also understand the need to be honest, we understand the desperate need for Christians NOT to rush to judgement, we understand the need to use your common sense! We understand the need for discretion, calm, and clarity of thought before rushing into something and making a huge mistake, and humiliating someone or an entire family UN-NECESSARILY!!!!!!! We also understand people need to be cautious at times, I mean for crying out loud, my husband rides our homeless bus every Sunday with a wonderful deacon in our church named Brother Dean. They have to be careful, but they use common sense as well.
The need for caution, the need for attention to detail, the use of common sense and good judgement, and the need to not rush into things to fast without having more information....these are things and much more that are done while they go out onto the downtown streets and to the shelters of Asheville and they invite the cities homeless and down-trodden to come to church and also receive a home cooked free meal.
Yes every once in a very blue moon, one of the homeless might cause a slight disturbance,or not follow a rule or two, or have to be asked to do one thing or another, or even be removed from the church and taken back to town early. Yet those occurrences are few and far between, and Brother Dean, Bob and and our Pastor handle these things in the right ways. And Yes, even once before the Sheriff's office was called to the church because of Gang related issues and a fight that began....with the bus kids. BUT, these kinds of things are so rare, that it usually does not bare even being repeated or talked about in conversations.
Fear, paranoia, having wrongly judging someone that they did not know, especially when you carry a gun yourselves!!!!, and, inaccurate information and yes even a lie or two, followed with a "rushed into BAD decision like calling the sheriff's department", can have far worse, and far more devastating effects and results on someone('s) lives than you can ever have imagined. Innocent were hurt, innocent were embarrassed, innocent were beyond humiliated, innocent were wrongly judged, and now that innocent young man will never come back to church with us again, and we the actual church members, are beyond hurt, over the moon with embarassement and humiliation on many levels, and now one in my family most likely will never return to church....there! As a Christian and a mother, and Bob as a Christian and a father, there are no words to accurately, fully, completely write, say, utter, describe, or even moan when our hearts and eyes are full of tears, that could ever tell you how we all feel, and the hurt and pain that has been caused. ONLY Time and the Lord, combined with a great deal of prayer, (and yes, yet again I find myself at the door of having been deeply hurt by those whom I call "church family", forgiveness is nothing I can offer as of yet, but having been here, oh so painfully in the past two years because of other circumstances, and ones that caused hurt, and handled things wrongly, or rather didn't handle at all, I/me/mine and my tearful desperate pleas for help and council were fully ignored for two years now!!! I will pray, as I have many, many times before, and in time I will ask the Lord to help me forgive), and with God's grace, mercy and help, forgiveness will find it's way, as it has for the other situation, just not now, this will take time, and a great deal of help from my sweet Lord!