Girls on the beachHave you ever thought about how you love others and the impact it makes on their lives? I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I just finished Bob Goff’s book, Everybody, Always. It’s challenged me to love more and deeper than I ever have before. I had a wonderful opportunity to be surrounded by my daughters and their friends for a week on the beach. I was determined to love them well. As it turns out loving others that look and act like we do is not where the challenge lies. It’s when we are faced with the ones that don’t that it becomes hard.

We’ve never had a problem with theft at the beach, but this year was different. It was our 2nd day on the beach at the end of a gorgeous day. My oldest and I were the only ones down on the beach. We heard a woman begin to question the ladies behind us about a pair of shoes. She went on to ask them where they had gotten them because she had purchased some just like them for her daughter, and they had left them at the end of the boardwalk and now they were gone. I was stunned to hear the confrontation as was Catherine. We never heard a response from the ladies being accused. They were silent. In their silence the mom continued, “I can tell by your faces and your silence that those are my daughter’s shoes, and I would like them back now please.” They gave her the shoes and she turned around and left.

I could not believe it. They really had taken someone else’s shoes, and they were sitting right behind us. Wow! I decided that was enough of the beach for me, so Catherine and I began to gather our things. I got a glance of the girls. They really weren’t that much older than our own girls. They looked to have been college age.

I figured that would be the last time I would see them. I definitely did not expect them to steal from us. That was a one time deal, right? Wrong!

It was time for a sunscreen reload before we all hit the ocean. I noticed as I reached into our beach bag that we were missing a pair of our goggles. We had 3 pair, but we were down to 2. I asked the girls where the green and black goggles were. No one knew they were even missing. I wasn’t really surprised because let’s face it, teenagers don’t always put things back to where they belong. I figured they must be up in the condo somewhere. We carried on with our day.

Later that afternoon, my middle daughter and I were the last on the beach. We had taken our beach chairs down to the ocean to put our feet in and allow the ocean waves to crash on our feet. We were just people watching and having mother/daughter talk. About that time, Lexi asked me, “Mom, are those the girls that stole the shoes?” I quickly glanced as the two girls passed us by. I affirmed that they were, and Lexi replied, “And are those my green and black goggles they are carrying?” What! Really? I couldn’t believe it.

Lexi looked at me and said, “I’m going to get my goggles back. I bought those with my own money, and I want them back.” That’s exactly what she did. She followed them up and ended up in the elevator with them. She confronted them just like the mom had two days before. They handed over the goggles to her, and she got them back. Yeah, the $12 goggles were salvaged. That’s when The Lord pricked my heart.

It’s as if I could hear Jesus himself whisper, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

After hearing that whisper it made me go to His word to read about why and when he said them. Look what I found…”Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left.” Luke 23:32-33

Lavishly lovedThere were 2 thieves that hung on either side of Christ when he was crucified. They were guilty, He was innocent. He prayed that prayer not just for the criminals but for the ones that were crucifying Him, for you and me. Sometimes we can get so focused on pursuing justice and what is right that we forget that there are lives that need saving, forgiving and restoring. I don’t know what caused those girls to need and desire to steal, but I know that they are lavishly loved by a Father that can forgive and save them.

So here’s how I need your help…will you say a prayer for these two girls wherever they are today? I believe in the power of prayer and that our God hears us and is mighty to save. Will you utter the same words that Jesus prayed? I can’t think of a better way to love our enemies than to pray for their salvation. That’s what Christ did! I’m a work in progress on this “Love” business, but I firmly believe that by praying for these girls we are loving like Christ. He’s in the judgment business. We are only in the love business.  Thanks for praying alongside of me. This is the kind of love that will leave an impact for eternity. I am expecting to meet these two daughters of the King one day.

“God himself, gave himself to save us from himself.” – John Scott