Awkward Introductions

Posted: May 29, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Awkward Introductions

Have you ever had to introduce two different friend groups and it was weird because you were the only connection between them?

Do you have “church friends”, “work friends”, “school friends”, “party friends”, or just “regular friends” that maybe wouldn’t get along with each other, but all get along with you? Or the people that you really disagree with, but you love them anyway, and sometimes the other people around you can’t understand why?

Last weekend I was struck by how crazy, challenging, and difficult it can be to have all different types of friends. But I was also really encouraged through the process. Let me tell you about it.

I was out of town for the weekend with a bunch of my friends celebrating our sweet Sara who is moving to Moldova. It was a wonderful weekend! Sunday morning we took all the cars from where we were staying into DC to go to church. I rode with Ben. So there we were, the first to arrive, excited about our great parking spot that was even in the shade of a neighborhood tree. We walked over to the church, enjoyed and partook in a wonderful service, and then grabbed lunch before heading back to the cars to travel to our next location. When we got back to the car I noticed something was off, but my brain didn’t quite register exactly what had happened. Then I noticed a shocked yet understanding look on Ben’s face as he walked around the car. Then the glass all around the back of the car. And suddenly it clicked…a side window and the back windshield were smashed out.

What now? Check what is gone, Ben’s bag – which had his clothes, computer and kindle inside.

I’ve been stolen from before, but the rules are different in Africa and America. What do we do now? Call the cops? Say ‘oh well’. The neighbors walked by and chatted with us. They said to call the cops, because there had been some houses broken into that weekend as well and they wanted to get the cops back in the area to keep looking into it before their houses were hit next. The same neighbors were also gracious enough to let me use their bathroom while we waited for the cops (for which I was very thankful).

But here is what my brain was processing.
My friend Ben just had is car windows smashed. His clothes were stolen. His electronics were stolen. It was totally unfair. I wanted to be angry for him (though he remained very calm and joyful). I wanted to know who did this and why? I wanted justice.
And at the same time my brain was thinking, this was done by people just like the ones I call friends. The people who I am trying to build relationships with and defend. The people who are more inclined to make bad choices than good ones. The ones I beg for second chances for.
In the end it just sucks. To be in a position where you get stolen from is horrible. To be in a position where stealing seems like the best option is horrible.

So as I continue to look into prison ministry I will remember how easy it is for hurting people to be angry. But I will also remember that it is possible to be gracious and joyful in spite of unfair situations (thanks Ben!). I will remember that people are still people even when they make bad choices. I will remember that there are reasons we have punishments and consequences and I will not try to protect my friends from the consequences of their actions, but to love them through it all. We need to stop dehumanizing the ‘bad guys’, and instead reach out, choose to live life along side them, and show them there is another way. It’s scary, but I think it’s worth it. What do you think?

  1. Judy Pacheco says:

    I love your heart, Shelby.

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