There was a time when it used to upset me. Eventually, I got to a place where it mostly amused me.
But today, after another 'non-encounter' with one particular couple, I realised that it didn't really touch me any more - except for the genuine pity I felt for these people. And then I realised that this was something new for me. I felt no anger or resentment. I had no desire to even smile at the charade. I actually felt real compassion for those who had inflicted such deep wounding on me in the past.
This wasn't something I was manufacturing to prove that I was a "good christian". It wasn't because I felt guilt or shame or that I should feel this way. It was simply what was flowing naturally from my heart.
And for me, it was evidence that the heart-breaking deconstruction of my faith, and the letting go of past 'certainty' has actually been worth it. Proof that the agonising process of reconstruction which has cost me the 'approval' and relationship of many I once counted as close friends has not been in vain.
It was a beautiful confirmation to me of how deeply my healing has penetrated - testimony to the power of embracing my brokenness and admitting my need for help beyond myself.
Because this morning I simply wanted to go over to them, look them in the eyes and say, "Please, won't you give up this fear and hatred. Can't you see what it's doing to you and your children?"
My heart shed silent tears for them, and in the midst of it I think I caught just a tiny glimpse into the heart of Jesus as he wept over Jerusalem:
"...you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate." (Matthew 23: 37-38)