See, in the moment my protective mom's heart kicked into high gear. We are professional church visitors. And my kids are in the midst of mighty amounts of transition right now. E is out of sorts enough and to throw her into a strange class just because of her age isn't going to work for her (nor was it why we even went). I scooped her up and hugged her and finally cut the lady off with "Can you please just give us a minute to figure out what we're going to do?" I hoped that was the nice version of "back off and leave us alone now that you've kicked her out and chastised us all in front of the kids!" (You can't tell what I was thinking at all I"m sure...)
The bottom line is that could have been any of us. I could have been that teacher (and probably have been!) who is so set on the program and policy at hand that I miss a huge opportunity. My anger at the Church (global here, not just this single one) is that we look so crazy to the world because we don't even practice what we preach. The Bible tells us the world will know we are believers by our love for each other. Sadly, most of us don't exhibit this kind of love regularly, if ever. While I wanted to get mad and tell this lady what I thought (and her director, and pastor, and blog-land, and any friends who live in that area, etc) a still small voice stopped me. "She needs grace." Wham-there it is, the gospel truth! This lady definitely needs grace! So do I! Apart from the Holy Spirit working in my heart to make me love her and the rest of the churches where this kind of crazy happens, I will be just as loud and ugly and inappropriate. And my righteous, judgmental heart needs the grace-undeserved as it is!- from Jesus all over again.
As if that wasn't clear enough, my little sis sent a link to a commencement speech today that I listened to and had a similar theme. My prayer for tomorrow is I can give grace-lots of it! For I know that I receive so much from my wonderful (and very patient) savior!