Friday, March 29, 2013

An open letter to my three adult children

Dear Kids,
     It might seem gratuitously forward for me to post this publicly, in such an open way, but I am compelled to do so. I am almost 50 years old and I don't know how many tomorrow's I have left. Maybe I will live 30 years more. Maybe I will live 30 minutes more. No one knows.

     I do not want to leave this world without emptying my heart and soul before God and the world, telling every one what I feel for you and what I desire for you and from you. I am more than willing to bear the humiliation that will surely come from wearing my heart so vividly on my sleeve.

     I am hoping against hope that these words will find you and that they will break through. I cannot convert you. I cannot make you do what is right. Only you can do that, by cooperating with the Holy Spirit. I can only tell you the truth, over and over, with love. It does not matter how much you revile me for it, I will not stop. I will not give up on you, ever.

     Today is Good Friday and somewhere, deep inside of you, you know what that means. I ask that you just take a little time today to think about what your Savior did for you. You can be angry at your mother and I if you must. You can feel that we were not able to give you what you deserved and, frankly, we can't really argue the point. That is not the case with your Savior. If He never bestowed another blessing upon you in this life, He has already given you far more than you could ever hope to repay.

     Yes, there is much suffering in your past and yes, your parents- us- must take the blame for some of it. Though there is not a single day when we don't feel the pain of regret and loss, we are not so naive to expect that your forgiveness will be quickly completed and without much work. Yet, you must do the work. You cannot continue to carry bitterness and anger in your hearts, it will destroy you. The work of the Cross ensured that any suffering- even suffering as great as yours- need not be in vain. I need you to trust me on this. Your suffering was a tremendous cost. I am not here to downplay it. Yet, whenever you are tempted to see God as indifferent in His holy temple to what you endured, know the pain we have endured for what happened to you and then look at the cross.

     Now I ask you to search the deep recesses of your heart and soul and ask yourself if an indifferent God could have done that. Remember His words to Peter that, at any moment, He could have called upon 12 legions of Angels to rescue Him. He did not. We all struggle with why Jesus did not save you from your sufferings while you were in the midst of them but we must also see, in Him, one who would not save Himself either. We may not understand Jesus' way but we cannot help but be staggered by it either. He, who was of such great love that He desires the salvation of all and even when we (myself included) do the most despicable things that cause those we love (and those we should love) to suffer, He does not, at once, destroy us but gives us every possible chance to be redeemed. By my sins, I have earned a thousand hells, each one more painful than the last one but Jesus, for reasons I cannot comprehend, has endured my endless ingratitude and seen in me a child worth saving. He sees the same in you and so do I. No, He did not remove the suffering that you bore unwillingly. Instead, He willingly suffered far more than you or I can even comprehend so that He could give value to your hurts and salvation to your souls.

     If I had my wish it would be that I could be your best friend and, yes, it causes me and your mom immeasurable pain when you stand in rebellion and stubbornly refuse to see the right way. The people you number as your friends are not all as much the friends you suppose them to be. The freedom you abuse to stand in rebellion of God will not last forever. At your hour of trial, all that will be left are God and you and those who are able and willing to testify on your behalf.

     You must stop deceiving yourself into believing that that hour will never come or that it is so far off that you do not need to worry about it. Now is the time of salvation. Do not wait until it is too late. At that hour, that you were popular with your friends or successful in your endeavors will not plead for your pardon. You can argue until you are blue in the face about who is on the right side of history but God is not impressed with such arguments. His church is on the right side of history and that is why it stood as empire after empire and heresy after heresy fell. The quickest and surest way possible to make it to hell is to pretend that it doesn't exist and that you are free to do whatever you want, say whatever you want, support what ever you want. Listening to people who tell you that God doesn't exist, heaven doesn't exist, hell doesn't exist and morals don't exist is to listen to fools. Deep down inside, you know better and you must fan those flames back to life.

     You may think that you are loving your gay friends by confirming them in their sin but you are not. Supporting things like gay marriage, abortion and contraception are material cooperation in evil. God created man. Male and Female, He created them. He instituted marriage as a covenant, sacramental relationship for two purposes;
  1. To help each other get to heaven.
  2. To raise children.
     Since homosexuals cannot accomplish either of these goals, through nature, to claim homosexual marriage as valid is to mock God. If you love your homosexual friends, you should, at a minimum, express to them that their choices to succumb to homosexual temptation is sinful and something you cannot personally endorse. At the most, you should assist them in coming out of the gay lifestyle as many have done. By no means, however, should you be affirming and elevating their lifestyle to the level of normal, genuine love. It is not love, it is lust. It is not life affirming, it is selfish and destructive on every human level.

     Saying these things doesn't exactly make me Mr. Popular. I don't care. I have higher aims for you. I don't care if you one day rule this world. I do not care about this world, beyond what is needed to survive it and overcome it. I desire for you that you escape the pollution and slavery of this world into the eternal bliss of the next. Jesus wanted that so much that He was scouraged and nailed to a Cross to provide you the path.

     You have only to take it. I will continue to tirelessly pray and work for that day, not out of judgement, not out of patronage but out of a love you do not yet understand but I hope, someday, you will.

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