I must say that I absolutely love our Youth Group. God has really given me an amazing group of leaders and kids to minister to. Each week when Monday comes around, I get really excited knowing that I get to hang out with some amazing teenagers. To see them grow and mature in their faith has been a real joy to be part of. But, with all the good, there also comes a lot of challenges. Emotional, spiritual and even sometimes physical beat downs! (Mainly balls flying at your head all the time, popping you in the face!)
Just the other day we had an incident where we were just playing sport outside, throwing the frisbee around when one of the kids accidentally threw it over the fence. He ran around to get it and all of a sudden an older Asian guy yells out. “What you doing?! Get out my yard!” Seconds later, the kid made it back safe and sound with no bullet holes and no rocks thrown at him, just some really nasty words.
Not thinking much of it, we continued to play on the church property as we normally do. I jumped in with the kids to throw the frisbee around. A few good throws back and forth and until I released one and in slow motion, as it left my hands I watched it go in the air and headed right for the same guys back yard. I couldn’t do anything but pray it wouldn’t go over. However, my prayers must not have been strong enough because the wind picked it up, and it floated right over the fence onto his lawn.
Just like when the ball was hit over the fence in the movie Sandlot, I was up again THE BEAST!! I had to get the frisbee back so I grabbed the littlest kid I could find to go with me to try and get cute points so he wouldn’t eat me alive! So walked next door and rung the doorbell as quietly as I could and waiting for the worst possible scenario. The guy came out, and I just embraced myself and then grabbed the cute little kid and hid behind him! As he approached closer, I smiled and asked if he could help with the frisbee.
He was calm for about 10 seconds until he started to unload on me about everything that has ever happened with that church (which is a different church, we just use the building). He was so angry that his wife had to come out and hold him back and try and calm him down! No matter what I said he wasn’t going to listen to me, so I just apologized and said “sorry, it was just an accident, and we made a mistake.”
He looked at me and said, “It is not an accident!”, and then rambled a whole bunch other words that I can’t repeat. I wasn’t sure what he was mad about, but I didn’t want to make him angrier so just said, “sir, it was just an accident, and I apologize for what happened. There is nothing else I can do.” At that point, his wife had to calm him down and bring him back inside. So we walked back to church and stopped playing frisbee. (The son of the man had already thrown the frisbee back, so that was nice of him.)
This incident got me thinking. Accidents are called accidents for a reason, unintentional and not done on purpose. Why are we so quick to condemn people when they make mistakes? I know when I mess up, which I often do, I don’t need somebody telling me I screwed up! I am good enough at condemning myself for my accidents and wrong doings. Shouldn’t we be showing grace and helping people learn through those accidents instead of pushing blame and beating people up over them? Christians should be the best at showing grace because we have the ultimate example of grace through our salvation. We don’t deserve anything God has done for us, yet he forgives us and shows us grace even through our worst days.
So next time somebody makes a mistake, think twice before condemning them because accidents do happen unintentionally! Try to figure out how to help them get passed the accident and move into forgiveness to solve the issue at hand. We all are guilty of messing up, so none of us have the right to point a finger. And remember that grace is greater than condemnation.
As for the old Chinese man, we as a youth group have decided to love him through his beast mode. We are praying for him and trying to shower him with gifts to show him, that because of God’s grace in our lives, we can also give him that same grace.