“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”
It was a weekday afternoon and Molly was getting a ride to go out with some friends. As a freshman with her permit, she loves driving, and yet I am still the taxi service for all her activities, as are most moms of fifteen-year-olds. Which is why I was surprised when her “ride” pulled up without a parent in the car.
Now I’m not saying I never snuck the car out when I was a teen, but this was pretty brazen. I thought I was walking out front to thank the mom for driving and she was nowhere to be found. I freaked! I literally have never had the feelings that coursed through my body at that moment like I experienced them then.
Fear. Disbelief. Concern.
“What is going on?! Does your mom know you have the car?” I asked in not-so-calm a voice.
“Yeah, she lets me. I’m a good driver,” replied the license-less kid behind the steering wheel.
The feelings of fear and concern escalated into anger. I pulled my daughter out of the car, much to her embarrassment, and made a pretty bold and heated phone call…to his mother…who happens to be a professed Christian.
Let’s just say Christian language and the fruits of the spirit were NOT coming out of my mouth. The horror that she would put my child, and the children in that car, in such utter danger was disgusting. The fact that she was not protecting her son and actually putting him (and herself) in such a position of liability with no concern for the other drivers on the road was completely unacceptable.
And I let her know that in no uncertain terms.
SO here’s where the story takes a turn.
Last night I was out late at Target with Molly and Amy, as is sometimes unavoidable when you NEED something for school the next day and guess who we ran into?
Yep. You guessed it. Her. The permissive mom who apparently does not feel it necessary to follow basic laws and is willing to put my child in danger without a logical, sane thought about it.
And to say it was awkward and uncomfortable would be a complete understatement. My heart was pounding, I was grasping for words, trying to be pleasant and not willing to ‘go there’. She didn’t either. It was thirty seconds of torture covered up with smiles and pleasantries.
As I was leaving the parking lot I asked my girls this question, “Is it necessary to apologize for speaking poorly to someone when you’re really not sorry you did it?”
I was seriously considering the answer. I don’t know. Is it?
Then I thought of Jesus. In Matthew 23 He basically spends the entire chapter reaming out the Scribes and Pharisees and Jerusalem. He isn’t vanilla about it either. He is jolting them awake with His words. Unapologetically. Now I don’t think he was dropping the F-bomb on them (or maybe that part got edited out of the Bible for the sake of the children…so kind) but I think He was really really pissed.
And the day after this historic speech did He feel bad? Did He return to the temple and say, “I’m so sorry I was harsh with my words yesterday. Please forgive me. We can work it out!”
Nope. Sorry. No deal.
He hoped His words would be strong enough to wake them up to the truth. And He was committed to speaking the truth. Even when it was hurtful and even when it was unpleasant for the one who was off the path to hear it, His job was not to ‘Be a friend to everyone,” His mission was to help people see the error of their ways if they were off track.
It would not have been loving to let them stay in darkness. So although it seems harsh, all the, ‘You fools…” and the, “Woe to you…” I believe He was speaking strongly OUT OF LOVE. And for some people with soft hearts you can love them with a miracle or a kind word or a touch of the hand and for those with hard hearts, you can love them with a harsh wakeup call.
At least that’s what I drove out of that Target parking lot thinking about.
“Should I have apologized?” I pondered.
I’m not sorry for standing up for what is right. I’m not sorry for being a raging mom who cares about her child’s safety and the safety of the other children in that car. I am not sorry.
Sometimes apologies are not needed. You allow the words to linger and you hope they were strong enough to plant a seed of conviction in their heart. I don’t harbor feelings of resentment against her. I just see her as another human being who that moment, for whatever reason, was off the path, and needed a little (ok..a big) reminder to get back on.
And I just did what Jesus would do. Ok, maybe I could have spoken the truth, in love, with a little more kindness and a little less vulgar language and name-calling. I’ll take responsibility for that. But overall, I’m not sorry.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Have a beautiful day. Stand up for what is right and don’t tolerate what is not.