Why is Jesus necessary? A reminder.

We are on our way home after a long day–a morning spent at Bible study, followed by lunch out, errands at the library and the bank, and finally, picking up my husband from work. After a quick stop at the gas station, we are a block from home.  Then I see her.

A young woman is standing on a street corner, talking on her cell phone.  At first glance, I see that she is sobbing.  A second glance takes in the blood flowing freely from her nose and mouth.  She’s been beat up.

Our neighborhood has been on high alert the last few weeks.  Two women, one of them very, very young, have been beaten, strangled, and raped by a stranger, apparently by the same stranger.  We are all on edge.  The sight of a girl standing on a corner bleeding is not one we can ignore.

“Kirk!  That girl is bleeding!  She needs help!”

He swings the car around the block and pulls up near her.  “Do you need help?”  he asks.

“YES!” she sobs.  She is still on the cell phone, with the 911 dispatcher, we learn. “He drove off over there,” she points toward our alley.  “I need a license plate number.”

“I saw the car–we’ll go see if we can find him,” Kirk says, and turns the car in pursuit.   We drive up a few blocks and see nothing, so we head back to the girl, pulling up at the curb and parking.

I get out and hand her a clean hanky.  She is still weeping into the phone.  She hands me the phone, and I confirm for the dispatcher that I stopped to help and can’t offer much more information.  The paramedics and the police are on the way, I’m told.  The phone conversation ends.  Kirk walks over and asks her what happened.

“I was in the car with him, and he started hitting me.  I have a card in my purse with the case number–I called the police the other night, because he threw me down the stairs, with his 4 year-old daughter in my arms.  A lot of f—ing good they did.  A case number!”

She is shivering.  Kirk suggests she come sit in the warmth of the car.  She gives no argument to that.  I stand at the corner and wait for someone to show up.

About 4 minutes later, the ambulance pulls up.  They usher the girl inside.  One of the paramedics asks us a few questions and asks us to stay put until the police arrive.  The cop pulls up, jumps out, and learning that we just pulled over to help, and didn’t actually see the assault, dismisses us.  We drive home, all of us sober and shaken.

Questions bubble:  why was she in his car if he’d thrown her down the stairs a few days ago? What could cause a man to do these things to anyone at all, let alone a woman who has enough of a relationship with him to be carrying his daughter? What history of bad choices is represented by this snapshot we’ve seen? How do lives get this screwed up?  What would ever bring redemption to these lives?

And the answer is…Jesus.  They need Jesus.  This is what a life looks like without Him. Maybe not every life is filled with such overt violence and hurt, but the screwed-up-ness is there. I myself am that screwed up apart from the Gospel of God’s grace, poured out through Jesus.

I forget that often, because my life is NOT like this.  My life is well padded with comfort, security, a fine husband who loves me and will never EVER lay a hand on me in violence.  Children who are well-adjusted.  A financial outlook that is, …well, not rich by magazine standards, but considerably more affluent than most in my neighborhood.  Friends who care about me.  A warm, loving, functional family. A host of people who would step in to help any time we needed it.  I have layers upon layers of safety built into my life.

And in some ways, those layers of safety insulate me from the stark fact that I need the forgiveness that Jesus bought just as much as the thug who messed up that poor girl.  He needs Jesus. The girl needs Jesus.  I need Jesus.  We all do.  It is good to remember this.  It is good to stop and help, and then to allow my heart to hurt enough to drive me to pray for them and the others like them who live in my neighborhood.  THIS is why Jesus came–to rescue lost sinners.

Lord, have mercy on that young woman.  Bring her the help she needs.  Use even our small kindness to tell her that You love her, and bring her to Jesus.

And bring that man to the repentance that leads to life, as well. Press his soul with Your love and Your fierceness, until he sees Your truth and Your desire for him.

And, God….have mercy on me. Let me remember that I am a sinner in need of grace.  Keep  me from the apathy and fear that would seek my safety and comfort instead of helping.  Give me eyes that see lostness and need in the same way You see them, a heart that will not allow me to step past with a stony face, and a will to share Your love in words and actions.

Kyrie Eleison. Christe Eleison. Kyrie Eleison.

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8 Comments

  1. January 18, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    […] Laura writes a reminder of why Jesus is necessary. […]

  2. Miche said,

    April 30, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    I am not a religious person at all. I walked away from the Christianity of my childhood because I found that hypocrisy and judgement were more abundant than the love I was feeling from any god. I still take the time to poke fun at such examples. I’m telling you this so you fully understand the compliment I’m about to pay to you.

    I, and many of my friends who are not spiritual in any manner, would have stopped to help the woman. I like to think that it is a human connectedness of sorts. But the tone of your entry moved me and it seems that the injured woman made as big of an impact on you as you likely did her. The humility in your prayer and the honesty seeking in your questions about yourself are beautiful.

    I don’t know which one of us are right- I guess we will only find out when we die-but I felt that I had to tell you that reading your entry made my heart feel good.

  3. Del said,

    July 5, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    I totally agree with you.
    You need to experience Jesus, i have.

  4. lbjool said,

    July 8, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    Miche,
    Thank you so much for reading and responding–I do appreciate DEEPLY your careful and kind words, when apparently you’ve encountered Christians who are mostly NOT representatives of Jesus. I apologize for their lack of love.

    I would like to suggest, in an equally careful and kind tone of voice, that you will never find a Christian who is not a sinner of some stripe. I’m certainly one, myself, and you’d be very likely to find pockets of hypocrisy in me if you stuck around long enough. Which is why it’s best to look at Jesus Himself, as presented in the 4 gospels, to see if He’s real or not. Some days, you’ll see Him in me, and other days, ….well, ask my kids. 😦 I am thankful that there is Grace for me.

    One of my favorite verses in the Bible is in Paul’s letter to Timothy: “This is a trustworthy saying deserving of full acceptance: ‘Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, OF WHOM I AM THE WORST.’ I repeat that one to myself frequently–if I can only get that one thing into my brain, that is the thing that will keep me from the hypocrisy and judgment that you found so abhorrent–the knowledge that I’ve been forgiven much, and so I can turn and forgive much, as well.

    Anyway, thank you for your words, and the link. I’m honored.

    Laura

  5. Idetrorce said,

    December 15, 2007 at 9:45 am

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

  6. jancd said,

    February 26, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    I totally agree with you that this family needs Jesus in their lives. We have a teacher in our Bible Study class that was a drug dealer in his younger days. His older sister prayed for him for years and years. I don’t know the whole story, but I do know that this man gave his life to Jesus and turned his life around. He will certainly admit he is not perfect, but by the grace of God, he is saved. He is retired now and spends his days visiting prisons and jails seeking out those who are ready to hear God’s word. His sister died recently, and he knows that she died knowing that he was saved and living his life for Jesus. Jesus changes life. He does not promise riches and fame, He promises life. Jancd

  7. mzzterry said,

    November 23, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Good post. You speak the truth. Thanks for sharing this. God bless you & yours.

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