We Have Strayed So Far Away

My youngest child has always known what she wants. That she wants to sing and play the guitar,and exactly what she wants to sing and play. Some of her song selections makes perfect sense to me, and will be the typical up-beat and popular songs sung by a female artist that any nine-year-old girl might want to emulate. But sometimes there’s a song that’s different. Probably three years ago, Lydia told me that she loved the song, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” by Casting Crowns. This is an amazing song, but it’s nothing like some of her typical picks and was a surprise to me. About a year ago when she started playing guitar, she brought up that she wanted to learn to play this song. Last week, she chose to play and sing it for an audience at church for the first time. Here are the lyrics, if you’re not familiar with the song or haven’t paid attention in a while:

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided 

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours 

Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who’s writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they’re the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet 

This song has resurfaced at a point in my life where I’m more passionate about its cause than ever. The message of this song has been heavy on my heart for the last couple of months. Watching Lydia belt out a song like this with conviction has done a number on me.  To know that she chose this message as her own, that God put this song in her heart years ago, gives me some encouragement for the future that I desperately need right now. Some days, and especially this week, I feel like I’ve given up on us Christian adults. Like our hearts just aren’t gonna be broken for the things that break the heart of Jesus. The battles that so many Christians are choosing to fight and the way in which they fight them has me heartbroken. Actually, it has me struggling with anger myself. So now I’m a part of the problem too, because I’m angry at other Christians for the way they are showing anger to the world.  And with deep discouragement and sorrow, I wonder if we’re too far gone and we Christians, collectively, are just not gonna “get it”.

And then I hear my 9 year old “getting it”. And realize that even at age 6, God was planting these convictions in her heart. And I think maybe, just maybe, this girl will be a part of the change. Maybe my best chances of “turning the tide” will be growing these little people that can convince the world through their hearts and actions of things that my generation of Christians has basically failed at. Maybe you can grow your little people in this way too, and their generation of Christians can finally be known by their love.  And it is through this train of thought that I have hope again.

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