But something else was unlocked. Something dark. Something tragic and malicious. Regardless of her current state, her current home, regardless of the love we showed her, she had been repeatedly wounded in her previous home. She had buried these wounds deep. She had to be strong. Strong for herself. Strong for her younger brother. She would be a pleaser. She would work. She would smile. She wouldn't let others know about the hurt. She would show them. She would be happy, even when she wasn't. It didn't matter how much her others hurt her, it didn't matter even if it was her own mother.
The depths of this dysfunction of the soul remained hidden until the soul began to experience healing. Only then did pain poisoning her begin to creep forth. Violence towards pets, towards foster siblings, towards parents, towards self. First a hole in the wall. Violent tantrums. Slamming against doors. Scissors. Knives. Put the sharps out of reach. Finally, multiple attempts at running away.
And here we were - sitting in shocked disbelief in the lobby of a mental hospital for children. Where did we go wrong? What could we have done differently? Why did God lead us into this?
Only years later have we been able to realize we did everything God called us to in this. Ours was not to adopt these kids. Adoption was not God's plan in this and it has been a bitter pill to swallow at times. In the process, hell was exposed and lashed out in vengeance. It was through God's grace and the sheer determination of my bride that these children were not lost as statistics in "the system" as she pleaded, debated, and even battled case workers via phone and appointment for days, weeks, and months on their behalf. And in the process, hell was loosed all around us and, seemingly in our midst, as we watched a little girl unravel.
Predators. Wicked men. Abusive behavior. The past months and weeks the media can report on little else. Accusers continue to come forward with new found boldness implicating powerful individuals in all walks of life. Where society celebrated a man's life and subsequent passing who made his living promoting said behavior only months earlier, for unexplained reasoning the elite and powerful have turned upon each other in true cannibalistic fashion.
The result: that which was hidden or known and protected is drug into the public eye for all to see and mock. Many distance themselves as the true revival of the witch hunt commences in full. A veracious appetite is whetted for the suspected lascivious habits of those who have long made enemies or garnered jealousies. Already the scarlet "A" is emblazoned on the careers of the first as their demons have been proudly exposed. So many are quoted as saying "Unbelievable" as they, too, shake their heads.
In both instances above we see the depravity of humanity. It is easy to say one was a victim and one made victims. Both illustrate the broken and fallen condition of humanity. One was a victim of the sins of another. One sins against others and self in creating victims. Sin is cyclical in this fashion. Sinners sin. And sin keeps us sinning. And no matter how effectively we think we can bury the action, the results, or how deeply we think we can keep the secret of our sin, it will always come out. It will either come out in our relationships, the erosion of our integrity, the fashion we are witnessing in the news now, or it will come out in front of a heavenly multitude in front of an Eternal Creator and Judge surrounded by innumerable worshiping beings. Picture your darkest secrets being proclaimed in this setting as you try to justify your actions.
What is the answer? The answer is that our only hope is to throw ourselves fully into the mercy of a Loving Father who sent his Son to pay for our sin. Repeatedly. Every day. This sin-plague is bound up in this world's demise and as the days grow longer Hell is intent on destroying as many as possible. Our only salvation IS salvation - that free gift of eternal grace and mercy given through the cross where one who was completely without sin paid for every treacherous, lascivious, disgusting, and foul action we can commit, witness or imagine. It was not offered to only the mildly misbehaving, but to the vilest offender because it is man who has a gradient rating of sin. Our Father sees it for what it is, that which separates us from His love and life, no matter how small the offense.
Just as I daily lift up the small child victimized by a world into which she was born that lacked stability, lacked healthy structure, lacked the necessities of nurturing affection to promote healthy development - I need to lift up the one who was born into a world entangled by darkness, blinded by their own "successes" and ambitions, ravaged by their own appetites, and ultimately blinded by the one who seeks to blind us all from the true grace and love of our Father who loves that individual no less than he loves me. Our Father is no less heartbroken over that individual's trials and missteps than he would be mine if I were in their shoes. The reality is I have been. We all have been. His Son was to the fullest extent - when he took it all to the cross.
It is only in this lack of judgment and forgiveness that we can shine as the body of Christ in love instead of wearing the judgmental label "Christian" that the world anticipates when others fail. When facades are torn and skeletons tumble out of closets, we can be the ones to bend down and help others pick up their shattered lives. When the worst in others is exposed and others distance themselves, we can be the ones who draw near. If we are pursuing Him walking out His love for others, we won't be afraid of loosing demons.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 ESV