The husband said he knew the sermon was going to be interesting when we walked into church and saw a REALLY tall ladder gracing the alter. He was right.
Our pastor began his sermon by describing a Peanuts cartoon that goes something like this: Lucy asks Linus why he's up in a tree. Linus responds that he and Snoopy are up there to get something. Lucy states that Beagles can't climb trees. Snoopy falls out of tree. Lucy calls him a stupid Beagle (I'm fuzzy on whether she tells him he should have known better) and the strip ends with Snoopy thinking that all he wanted was a hug.
Our pastor went on to relate this to grace..he also climbed up to the very top of the ladder where I'm certain there is a "Warning: do not climb above or sit on this step" sign and sat there talking. I averted my eyes because I am so afraid of heights that watching him sit up there made me nauseous. (This is where you wonder how I survive with 5 boys. ;) ) He discussed how we show grace as Jesus did when we reach out to those people and love them when they're in the trees not walking away because we believe they got themselves into the tree so it serves them right.
Oh, how this message resonates with me. (Could you tell?)
There are many times I felt like Snoopy. Woe is me. We've all been there, had someone tell us we should have thought of X before Y because they would have. Naysayers and Monday morning quarterbacks. Yes, reality and practicality are important. Sometimes the results are inevitable so we should have known better. Some people say this with gentleness and love and really hope to help you through the fall-out. Others say they're "speaking the truth in love" while they beat you over the head with their list of what you should have done and how wrong you were.
I am no better. I know I can be just as judgemental as the next human. I hope that I keep the negative thoughts to myself, not to be phony but because no one needs to be kicked while they're down. But, I'm sure they've slipped out while I'm being "helpful".
During this Lenten season I hope I can respond in a more grace-filled manner. Love people where they're at. Hate the sin but love the sinner. And, if someone falls out of the tree, I hope I help them up, dust them off and maybe even give them a hug instead of stomping off in disgust because they took a risk.