Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

Love Will Bust You Out!

     I was recently reminded of a powerful scene in a movie called The Hurricane. Rubin Hurricane Carter was a black boxer wrongfully imprisoned for murder. He determined to harden himself…to deny himself the need of anyone or anything…to shut the door on love. This, he believed, was the only way he could do the time in prison. He had served many years of a life sentence when a young black man named Lesra got a copy of a book Carter had written. He was inspired by the story and began to work on Carter’s behalf to secure an appeal of his conviction. Finally the appeal is heard. Lesra is visiting Carter in prison and they are awaiting the results from the court when they have a discussion that goes something like this. Lesra said, “If this doesn’t work (the appeal), I’m gonna bust you out.” “You’re gonna bust me out?” Carter asked. “That’s right, I’m gonna bust you out,” says Lesra. Something cold and previously untouchable deep within Hurricane begins to thaw as he says, smiling, “Hate put me in this prison, but love’s gonna bust me out.” “But if love doesn’t do it,” interjected Lesra, “I’m gonna bust you out.” Carter is overcome with this young man’s zeal, admiration, commitment to and love for him and he  reaches through the prison bars to wipe away the young man’s tears with his hand. “You already have, Lesra. You already have.”  

    Sin creates all manner of prisons. It may be our sins or the sins someone committed against us that lock us in. If it is our sin and has not yet been discovered by others, it slams us into a prison of secrecy. We are so ashamed and isolated. We can’t hold our head up…can’t look a good person in the eye. We are certain that no one can understand. Why would they even want to? Who could we tell? Could we tell the church? No! Of course not! What would they think of us? How would they respond? Who else would be hurt? The church, we think, is much better at telling us what to do than at helping sinners find their way back home and then to be given a place at the table after they are back. After all, we have merely received the bitter and well-deserved fruit of our own sin. Leave us alone (so alone) so we can choke down that fruit in the darkness.   

    I’m just sure about this…God didn’t leave us here to condemn the already condemned. Hate has put them in a terrible prison, but love’s gonna bust ‘em out. Sin has so shamed them as to isolate them, but love’s gonna go find ‘em and bring ‘em home. How long have they been locked up? It’s time now. Love’s gonna pray, study, teach, serve, give, search, run, share, suffer, hope, lift, snatch, help, encourage, accept, welcome, hug, kiss, and celebrate them home. For these are the things Father God did for us. We will be devoted to a “home-coming of prodigals” (thank you, Rex). We will be a family free of older brothers who act like the older brother of Luke fifteen. We will be older brothers and sisters who share Father God’s heart for every returning prodigal. But what if they haven’t learned their lesson? What if they do it again? Well then, we will go searching again! And we won’t quit until our Father says so. Love (God and us) is going to bust them out of their dark prisons!      

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4 thoughts on “Love Will Bust You Out!

  1. For way too long, I was locked in my prison of shame. I tried to go ahead and live as if everything was ok…but I only had the strength to do that around people that had not known me before. I could not face people that knew me before that particular public sin. Slowly, I was able to be around some…but I was not comfortable AT ALL. I felt like they all were looking at me with disgust or with pity.

    Thank the Father for my dear friend that came and found me. And loved me. And loved me some more. And then…he loved me. Until I could stop that pretense and get real. Until I could truly come home to the Father. He didn’t have to do the things he did….but I don’t think love would let him do anything BUT what he did. He taught me how love treats sinners…how love is patient and kind….how love never fails.

    WE SINNERS ARE CAPABLE OF BEING TERRIBLY HARD ON OTHER SINNERS. I THINK THAT GROWS OUT OF BEING PRETTY HARD ON OURSELVES. WE KNOW THAT WE DO NOT DESERVE ANOTHER CHANCE. WITH OUR SIN EVER BEFORE US, IT’S DIFFICULT TO SEE ANYTHING OR ANYONE ELSE. GOD’S GRACE COMPLETELY TRUMPHS THE PLAYING FIELD WE ARE USED TO. IT’S NOT ABOUT WHAT WE DESERVE ANYMORE, THANK GOD! IT’S ABOUT BEING TREATED AND TREATING OTHERS LIKE JESUS DESERVES. AMAZING, HUH? ALL OUR PROTESTS OF UNWORTHINESS FALL LIFELESS TO THE GROUND…OF COURSE WE ARE UNWORTHY. THAT’S THE REASON FOR…THE NEED FOR…AND THE BEAUTY OF HIS GRACE. SHERRY, I’M GLAD THE FATHER FOUND YOU IN THE FRIEND HE SENT YOUR WAY…BUT THAT’S THE KIND OF FATHER WE HAVE…AND THAT’S THE KIND OF FRIEND HE MAKES OF US. HE IS DOING THIS THROUGH YOU NOW TOO, MAY HE BE FOREVER PRAISED FOR THE LOVE HE SENDS TO BUST US OUT.

  2. “Our secrets keep us sick.” The first time I heard that statement I was floored … it made so much sense … seemed so obvious … and yet I had lived for so long thinking that my secrets were keeping me safe. Safe from condemnation and humiliation. That sickness my secrets were creating was like a “prison” … it was isolating me from the rest of the world. It was keeping me there with no chance of escape.

    Eventually I actually started to look at the prison as my security … my safe place. Isolation wasn’t so bad if it meant that I didn’t have to reveal my true self to people. The depression wasn’t so bad if it kept me apathetic so I didn’t realize how sad I really was. The chance of escape was only appealing if it was through death.

    At first the love that people tried to show me just made me suspicious. What did they want from me? I had nothing to offer so they must have some motive to be willing to pretend to care about me that much. Once I let a little love in … and a little secret out … walls slowly started to move. But it was very slow. Amazingly … I felt like the walls were gone and that I was doing really well … felt better than I had felt in my entire life. I lived that way for about 8 years.

    Then one of those secrets that had never been revealed was finally let out into the light. I could not believe what I saw. I had still been living in that prison … the walls had just moved out some so it wasn’t so obvious. What I thought was “freedom” was equated with being let out into a regular cell after experiencing solitary confinement. This realization became the beginning of my final release. The love that was shown to me was patient, enduring, safe, without stipulations. That love busted me out into the arms of a Father that had really been holding me all along, I just couldn’t see it.

    I pray that I can learn to love with the love that can “bust” someone else out of their prison of secrets. I want to pass on the amazing love that I finally found.

    IT SOUNDS LIKE IT HAS BEEN A LONG, LONG, TOUGH JOURNEY FOR YOU, PAIGE. IN YOUR WORDS I CAN SEE SOMETHING OF THE DISTANCE YOU HAVE TRAVELED BY HIS GRACE. THE WAY YOU LOVE LIFE AND THE WAY YOU CARE FOR OTHERS MAKES IT DIFFICULT FOR ME TO IMAGINE WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE FOR YOU IN THE DAYS YOU COULDN’T FIND YOUR REASON TO GO ON. BUT I AM GLAD TO GOD FOR THE WAYS…THE PEOPLE…THE PRAYERS…THE WORD…THE LOVE…AND, MOST OF ALL, THE SAVIOR…AND ANY AND EVERY OTHER INFLUENCE HE HAS USED TO BUST YOU OUT OF YOUR PRISON OF SECRETS. I HOPE AND PRAY THAT YOUR EYES NEVER GET USED TO THE DARK AGAIN. I AM SO GLAD HE GAVE YOU THE COURAGE TO FACE THE WORST ABOUT YOURSELF AND BLESSED YOU WITH HIS GRACE TO FIND THE STRENGTH TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP. I’M GLAD HE IS CONVINCING YOU TO SEE YOURSELF THROUGH HIS EYES. THE BEST IS YET TO BE, ISN’T IT?! YOU KNOW WHAT REALLY KEEPS ME GOING…IT’S THIS THOUGHT…THAT FOR US…FOR ALL OF FATHER GOD’S CHILDREN…THE BEST IS ALWAYS YET TO BE. THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING EVEN MORE WONDERFUL TO LOOK FORWARD TO…TO BE INSPIRED BY…TO KEEP GOING FOR. LET’S KEEP GOING. LET’S ONLY LOOK BACK FOR LESSONS THAT WILL HELP US HELP OTHERS.

  3. Uncle John on said:

    Doug,
    Great stuff. You challenge me to dig deep and think hard on God’s love. There is just so much we’ve to comprehend and then apprehend. I only wish I could do a better job at telling the story. To illustrate (like your story) is to illuminate.
    I love you brother…

    THANKS, JOHN. I REALLY DO APPRECIATE THE ENCOURAGEMENT. YOU HAVE A BARNABAS HEART. THIS HELPS TO MAKE YOU THE KIND OF HUSBAND, FATHER, PREACHER AND FRIEND THAT YOU ARE. WE COULD MEDITATE ON HIS LOVE FOR A LIFETIME AND NEVER EXHAUST ITS WONDERS. I’M BEGINNING TO SUSPECT THAT EVEN ETERNITY WILL NOT EXHAUST IT. I’M HOPING TO MEET WITH YOU SOON. WOULD YOU HAVE ANY TIME ON MONDAY, JANUARY 28…MAYBE AN 8 AM BREAKFAST AT C.B.? LET ME KNOW. GOD BLESS YOU AND ALL YOURS.

  4. Rex Boyles on said:

    Doug, my beloved friend, I wrote yesterday … but apparently the spam police snatched me. Your post moves me to try again.

    Whatever you write bring comfort to me … you are a gifted writer and even a better friend. I was especially intrigued by your last paragraph. “What if they do it again?” Doesn’t that question sum of the unspoken fear that keeps church leaders from joining in the celebration of prodigals returned home. “What if they do it again?” “How will that make us look?” “What will people think of us?”

    When we focus on how the sinner has hurt us … it is extremely hard to focus on how we can help them. Love covers a multitude of sins. Your love for me demonstrates that. You have helped “bust me out”. I love you, friend. R

    YES, MY BROTHER AND FRIEND, THERE IS SOMETHING THAT MUST CLAIM PRECEDENCE OVER HOW THE SINS OF OTHERS WILL MAKE US LOOK. THERE IS THE TRUTH THAT CHURCH DISCIPLINE MUST BE APPLIED TO CHRISTIANS WHO DO NOT REGRET THEIR EVIL AND WHO MAKE NO ATTEMPT TO CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOR. BUT IN MY MINISTRY THERE HAVE BEEN RELATIVELY FEW WHO HAD THAT ATTITUDE. THERE IS SOMETHING MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN HOW WE ARE AFFECTED BY THE REPEATED SINS OF FELLOW CHRISTIANS…MORE IMPORTANT THAN OUR BEING IN CONTROL OR SAVING FACE OR GUARANTEEING A “NO-MESS” FUTURE. THE THING THAT CLAIMS PRECEDENCE IS LOVE COVERING A MULTITUDE OF SINS AND SAVING A SOUL FROM DEATH. WE CAN’T BE INVOLVED IN THIS MISSION AND BE MORE WORRIED ABOUT OUR APPEARANCE, OUR REPUTATIONS OR OUR CHURCH’S SQUEAKY CLEAN IMAGE THAN WE ARE ABOUT BRINGING LOST FOLKS TO JESUS. I AM GLAD YOU CHOSE NOT TO BE ASHAMED OF ME, MY FRIEND.

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