I’ve talked for several years with a good friend and fellow writer about the high cost of redemption. It started to crystallize in my mind when I first became aware of the tragedy of special needs orphans in eastern Europe. (Yes, I’ve since learned it’s not just those with special needs nor is it limited to those in eastern Europe.) I had friends who were adopting and I looked into it and was just floored by the thousands and thousands of dollars needed in some countries.
Redeeming lives is expensive.
There’s just no getting around it. Whatever it is that needs redemption, it’s going to cost.
This was brought home more personally a few years ago when I was losing my life and watching the lives of my children fade away. (That story is another post for another time.) The upshot is I was going to die if something drastic wasn’t done and I was in no position to do it. And it was going to be costly.
The cost of rescuing me and my kids was high. It continues to be costly too. We’re out of the immediate danger, but teetering on the edge. It’s been almost 2 and half years, and still, the amount of support we need to live even a reasonable, normal life, is enormous.
And we don’t have it.
I have friends trapped in abusive marriages. One could go if she simply had a place to land for a few months and time to get her shit together. But, a place to land costs money. And she has a large family. So, even if someone was willing to take them in, most folks just don’t have the space to add 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 people… So, there she is. Abused. Raising beautiful little souls in this tragedy.
Redemption is oh so costly.
My kids’ father is currently homeless. He’s done a lot right. He’s done a lot wrong. In his mid-fifties, it would be easy to think “He’s a grown man. He can figure it out.”
Except he’s not a grown man. (I didn’t know that when I married him. Hindsight and all that…)
He’s a broken man.
In need of redemption.
What’s the cost for redeeming his life? Huge.
You see, redemption isn’t a one time deal. In christian circles, redemption sometimes gets likened to redeeming a coupon. It’s a one time deal. And, in the sense of christian tradition, the idea that Christ died on the cross to redeem humanity makes the analogy reasonable, though horrifically inelegant. Christ’s act was a one time deal. But, unlike the coupon that can only be used once, Christ’s act can be used over and over.
There is also this idea of the “working out” of salvation. I think people think that once that “deal” is done, then things are ok.
Once the child is adopted, redemption has happened.
Once the abused are rescued, redemption has happened.
Once the addicted are no longer using, redemption has happened.
Once the abortion has been averted, redemption is finished.
But, this simply isn’t true. Any parent, adoptive or otherwise, can tell you that once the child arrives, the redemption is just starting. When a girl doesn’t abort a child, that child isn’t redeemed yet. There is a “working out”. There is wrestling.
Too often in the face of someone’s gaping need for redemption, people say things like
- “That’s too bad!”
- “Why doesn’t she just leave?”
- “The government should do something about that!”
- (and this is one of my not-so-favorites) “Isn’t there a PROGRAM for that????”
Um, yeah. There is.
Laying our lives down for our friends. Opening our homes and floors for 6-12 months so a family can get a new start. Coming alongside a woman choosing not to abort and understanding that support needs to be a lifelong commitment.
It’s COSTLY, gentle reader. Costly.
The $2400 my kids’ dad needs by mid November to pay off his moorage is just a portion of the cost of his redemption. Once that is paid, he still needs to somehow live. He isn’t capable of taking care of himself for a number of reasons. He needs a mother, honestly. And at his stage in life, that just isn’t happening. But it doesn’t make the need less real.
Tragically, because he is an adult and outside of a physical disability, seems “normal” and people, myself included, feel righteous about our “tough love”.
Who bears the costs of his unredeemed life? He does. His children do. I do. Extended family members. Society…
I don’t know how to help people understand this idea of cost and that it’s just a fact of life. The cost doesn’t need changing. The cost needs paying. Instead of looking at how to avoid paying the price of redemption, we need to point out the reality and start shouldering.
I know many of you who read this are already shouldering. Thank you. It doesn’t go unnoticed. If you have ideas as to how to spread this idea beyond the proverbial choir, please, comment. If you’ve a story to share of your own redemption, please, do. We need to see these stories. It helps us see the parts we can play in our own and in others’ redemption stories.
Be blessed, truthful, and kind.