Saturday, April 18, 2009

Love and Shame

I ran into a couple of folks I knew from a prior workplace in the pharmacy yesterday. The woman was friendly, but the man could hardly look me in the eye. And I knew why: it was because their relationship caused the break-up of both of their marriages. Three small children no longer have their daddy in the home. Much scandal was brought upon their workplace and families because of their desire to be together. I can see the strain on their faces. There is much loss.

To their surprise, I welcomed them. As recognition dawned in the man that expected judgment was not forthcoming, he relaxed and spoke a bit. I was friendly for one reason: they are beloved children of God. I am shocked by what happened and deeply grieved by the pain caused, but I know that God loves them beyond, more than and despite the choices they've made. Why should I do any less? I myself have been forgiven much.

Before my husband and I were married, he took a job 8 hours away from me. It was difficult to be apart, so we did what seemed natural at the time: I pulled up stakes, got a job there and moved in with him. We were going to be married within the year, so it didn't seem like a big deal to us.* During this time, I was shunned by some members of his family; however, I will never forget the love and acceptance poured upon both of us by his Mormon aunt and uncle. I knew enough about their beliefs to understand that they did not condone our situation; yet they welcomed us into their fold. To this day, I am deeply grateful; in fact, if I didn't disagree with the tenets of their faith, I would have become Mormon all those years ago.

Yesterday as I looked into the faces of those two in the pharmacy line, I could see their struggle with shame. How I long for them to understand the depth of God's love and His sweet, gentle touch! I pray their shame will not keep them from such a loving Father. He scans the horizon for their return.

*Now my understanding is different; I think marriages function much better if they don't start out like that. God's pure way is logical, beautiful and always best.

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