We have all been to WalMart at sometime in our lives I am sure. Some of us more than others. I am a Target kind of girl..I even have a red wallet that I keep all of my Target coupons, prescriptions and gift cards in. But on a Sunday evening after 10pm when I need a drug testing kit, WalMart was the place we headed. It was one of those moments you never imagined when you dreamed of parenthood....not for a second did I imagine that I would be waiting outside a Walmart bathroom while my son takes a drug test..but that is our reality these days.
Our son runs away. He steals anything he can gets his hands on. He refuses to go to school. And now it is confirmed that he smokes marijuana. He has FAS. And each time he crosses another line, we wonder what will be next for our family.
He is a sinner. I am a sinner. But, there is one thing I want to make clear. Sin is sin regardless of the sinner. In a world of relativism..where each person decides for themselves what is right and what is wrong...the concept of absolute truth has often been lost. Stealing is sin. Lying is sin...regardless of the sinner. What I wrestle with is not what is sin and what is not..but what I wrestle with is the element of accountability regarding the sinner.
Brain damage caused by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) clearly effects the ability of my son to stop the impulse to engage in behaviors that lead him to sin. Does he sin when he lies and steals? Absolutely. Do I sin when I spend time deciding whose sin is worse or when I feel better about myself when my kids are behaving well? Absolutely. Will he be held accountable for his actions in the same way that someone who is not effected by brain damage? That is the question. Some of his behaviors are within his control and as a parent, we need to help him understand the consequences of sin. Some of his behaviors are a direct result of his disability.
The Lord looks on the heart...we see the outward appearance. On the outside, the sin in Jordan's life is running rampant. It breaks my heart. It causes me to fear for his future. Reality is, he may not survive through his teen years. His behavior is dangerous, reckless... He has three charges filed against him and now we will be heading into the juvenile justice system. He has spoken to the police more times in one day than I have in my life. Clearly, he is out of control..
But, in the midst of all of this, there is a young man who often asks God for forgiveness for the sin that he can see in his life. He wants to change. And then the next moment comes, and he steps right back into sin. And I do believe that there are times in the midst of all of this murky, muddy mess that he has created out of his life...I do believe that when God looks at his heart..he sees something much different than we are seeing on the outside. He sees the heart of a broken child. He sees the forgiven, cleansed heart of a sinner saved by His grace. And when my son steps into sin over and over again, His Loving Father is right there pouring our abundant love and grace. And each morning I pray that God will protect him from himself...and that he will draw near.
It is not my role to judge someone else's sin. It is not my job to figure out how God should decide to share his forgiveness and grace. I just know I have a son who is broken...by his sin and by his disability. We are a family broken and hurting as we watch our child follow a destructive pattern of behavior. There are few people that I can share our struggles with, especially within the Church. I understand how difficult this is to understand to someone outside of this FASD world.
Even the most disabled of our children have sin in their lives. Will God judge them to the same standard as He will of someone without a cognitive disability of this sort? I believe His mercy and grace will be applied to each person according to the heart of that individual. He knows the heart, the intention, the ability of each of his children to stand against the temptations of this world. He knows Jordan's heart...and may He increase his faith in abundance.
I believe that my son's brain will be healed and made whole again on the other side of heaven. I believe that God will use FASD for His glory, in His time. And I am thankful for the lessons I am learning each day... for the lessons in patience, grace, compassion, humility, and the faith as big as a mustard seed. My sin is magnified by the FASD in my children..and I cling even tighter to the one who has no sin...to the one who redemption for the sinner.