To Casey Anthony… We Are a People of Grace

This past week, and for the past few months, it seems one story has made it to the airwaves more frequently than any other.   For the American Public and the world, the story of a young mother doing the unthinkable has captivated us long before the trial started in May.

Several weeks ago, I saw a graphic report of the crime, and the images have yet to leave.    I am filled with disgust.   I am filled with sadness.    I am filled with questions.    All of which has been made worse this past week, with the “not guilty” verdict of the mother.

In an instant, all across the internet, the radio, and Facebook, people started screaming and protesting.   They were shocked.  They were angry.  Millions started to cast their own judgment, and throw down their own condemnation of Casey Anthony.  Myself included.   Millions are rushing to sign petitions for adoption of ill-concieved and poorly thought out changes to the law (See Cailey’s Law discussion at:  Link One,  or Link Two or Link Three

The common consensus among those heard on television was that she would get her due…  .     Her judgment and her punishment was yet to come. Karma would come back to kick her in the butt. 

Today I thought it oddly appropriate to post two simple reminders about faith for the faithful.    I thank Sojourners for providing the reminder for me last week.   It was a reminder helping me to remember, that we are on a journey that is, at times, the hardest thing we will ever do.

The First Reminder is;   We are a people of Grace, not a people of Karma. 

Our faith is the celebration of  the unconditional love that God has for each of us.    We worship the very fact that nothing we can do can change that simple and profoundly life changing fact. 

It reminds us that nothing we can do, no matter how many times we say no, or how many times we turn are backs on him, that God is still and will forever await our return.  We are made whole in that unwavering love, and we become free to shed all the garbage, all the sin, and all the darkness of our pasts.    We can move beyond the simple mistakes of youth, the poor choices of our past, and even those horrific secrets we keep hidden from the rest of the world.

Because of that reality, we are awarded a divine freedom to live, to be, and to become the people that we were meant to be before time began.   We can stop having those moments define who we are and the actions we take.

We are a people of Grace, Not Karma, and that Grace is unmerited, and its unqualified.   That Grace is absolute and without condition.

If we believe, truly believe, in this,… then everything changes. We change and our communities can change.

The Second Reminder is:   Following Jesus is not Easy. 

It is not easy, because we are called to a new way of living and a new way of seeing.   We are called to a life that values our relationship with God above EVERYTHING else, all the time:  Not just on Sundays! 

It calls us to life a different life, that isn’t easy, and doesn’t always feel natural.  It’s a call to embody the radical, life changing love, that we have been shown and that has rescued us.  Because of the love that has changed us so fully, so completely, we are called to make that love real for the whole world.    That love DOES NOT call us to raise up placards, scream for vigilante justice, or point to the brokenness of those around us.  Is certainly shouldnt lead us to spew acidic comments in our anger or our uncertainty.

Instead, we are called to make that love real for the everyday people around us.  We are called to make that love real for those people the rest of the world despises.    We are to make that love real to the homeless person on the street, the drug addict or the prostitute.  We are to make that love real to the CEO who swindled money out of the company, the housewife who drinks too much and neglects her kids or the husband who can control his anger and hits his wife.   We are called to offer love to those that are, by the world standards, unloveable.    No matter how unsettling that is, we are called to love the abuser and the abuse. 

We are called to embrace and embody this love, and its hard.    Especially when we come face to face to those like Casey Anthony.  Yet, that embodiment, is our calling and although it is not an easy one I pray that God provides me the strength to meet this moment as Jesus would.   I also pray that I stop forgetting along the way.

(A special thanks to Debra Dean Murphyis assistant professor of religion at West Virginia Wesleyan College (via Sojourners) for reminding me that Grace is unmerited, unearned, and not Karma)

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