Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Do You Really Believe in Redemption?


My oldest son teaches history at a local high school. In case you haven’t noticed, these are not your father’s high schools. Things have changed dramatically. The culture is in a rapid state of decay, which is to say it continues to reveal what it has always been. With the family unit in shambles the children are without even the structure which can provide some outward parameters for their behavior. And needless to say the challenge for teachers is very great as well.

Last year on the first day of school Jon was addressing his class and one child, a sophomore, was being continually disruptive. He ignore several warnings until eventually Jon sent him to the office. Now this kid had been dismissed from another high school for his behavior, and although he was a sophomore he was several years older than his peers since he had been left behind a few times. He was a black teenager that stood above 6 feet tall, and as he left the class he purposely went face to face with Jon in front of the entire class as if he was challenging Jon physically.

Jon, who is a bodybuilder kept his cool and the kid left the class without further incident. His name is Xavier. Later on Jon and Xavier and a few members of the administration gathered together to discuss the incident. Xavier slouched in his chair and appeared either disinterested or angry or both. The administration asked Jon what he thought should be the course of action. Jon looked at Xavier and said that he was willing to start fresh if Xavier would agree to two things. First he would show Jon respect in the classroom and secondly that if he had any problems he would come and talk them over with Jon. Appearing a little surprised by the turn of events, Xavier agreed and Jon and he shook hands.

As the school year progressed Jon noticed a change in Xavier’s behavior. He used to be a D and F student, and now he was an A and B student. And he no longer disrupted the classroom. This change eventually became the norm. Xavier now saw Jon as a friend and mentor, and he hung around Jon as much as he could. And Jon insisted that Xavier showed his report card to all of his teachers.

Now the administration had been looking for a reason to dismiss Xavier because of his past behavior and because of his age. He would not graduate until he was 20 years old. So they called another meeting with school officials and with the person who oversees those kind of dismissals. Jon and Xavier were invited to participate in that meeting. The head administrator spoke to Jon and told him that they would go with whatever Jon thought was right. Should the school dismiss Xavier because of his advanced age?

Jon looked at Xavier sitting next to him and told him that this was now a matter of personal responsibility because Jon would take some responsibility for Xavier, but it would be up to him to step up and make Jon and everyone else proud. The meeting ended with allowing Xavier to stay in school. Love covers a multitude of sins. But that is not the end of the story.

A few days ago Xavier came up to Jon and informed him that his father had died. He showed Jon a picture of his father on his phone (see, times have changed) and told him a few other things. Xavier told Jon that he had never met his father, and that his father had been murdered while in prison. Jon had not known this. Ok, all you moralists who rant about the breakdown of the family unit but show little compassion and understanding for those who are the products of such a breakdown; You who believe in redemption but refuse to put flesh on its doctrinal bones, can this kind of story open your eyes to redemptive opportunities rather than shouting at the darkness? You who have been redeemed, do you seek the redemption of others?


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful legacy is living on through your son, Rick, though ultimately it is the legacy of His Son. Thank you for this faith-building testimony.

Teresa Cassle said...

This is the story of so many kids and young people today. Real change only comes from getting our hands dirty, Jesus called us to have dirty hands in these situations. You should be so proud of your son, he's walking the path with Christ. What a blessing he is to these kids.

Randy said...

Really an inspiring story Rick. Thanks for sharing it with us! Sure glad that he found a friend and mentor in your son. So many are the fruits of this materialistic society.

Anonymous said...

This is it! Thank you Jesus!

This is the fruit of the Spirit in action. I really can see that this is what it's all about. What a sweet wise son you have, Bro. Rick. And what a nice boy, Xavier, who needed to be nurtured. I pray the next step he finds Jesus, and that he's constantly being reminded of Jesus everywhere he goes.

If we valued every child out there as our own and realized some aren't nurtured with loving parents, we would understand why so many act out. Our society stereotypes and I believe the reason they do this is because they don't want to get involved; it's easier to grumble.

I was blessed with a similar little story; the homes behind our house were welfare residents and young boys were known to vandalize the neighborhood houses. I accidentally saw a few throwing rocks one time, where it was too late to stop them, and my house had a few break and enters. One of the things they stole was my deceased father's cane, which was special to me. OK, so, I thought, as a christian, I have to ask for wisdom here. Soon after to my surprise, AKC! - one of the vandal boys knocks on my door asking if we would hire him to do yard work. I hired him to do things we didn't need done, paid him more than necessary, then his poor dad and friend came around, and I got them to cut down a few trees for pay, and it just exponentially created this relationship with them; and got to be friends with Trevor.

After a while, he came by, knocking telling me about some exciting school event in his life. He shared about his dad needing a psychiatric care and his mom unable to work. He brought his sister over to meet me. I'd give them my son's clothes and little purses, hats, purfume to the sister, when they'd pass by. When we were preparing to move out, he came by for the last time and told me he was planning a career.

I know that the Lord works things out. Some youth from a neighboring pentecostal church invited him to youth group. I know this planted a seed within him. Wherever these kids are, and they are everywhere, they really deep inside are scared kids who need mentors. I know how frustrating it is to see so many needs and there are so few minutes in the day.

Anon. J

Anonymous said...

Dear folks, my anti-social (partly autistic son) had become friends with a sweet boy, whose parents were immigrants from Turkey. However, it was apparent the boy displayed some lack of good judgment sometimes and had a bit of obsessive traits, like 'stalker' traits with my son.

They would do things occasionally together, but my son was trying to steer him off. Herein was my dilemna. As a christian, what could I do. I wish I had done so much more, but at the time was in deep with my husband's unemployment problems at the time. My son that year gave his heart to Christ, became a born-again christian and invited his friend to church, but the friend declined. I became a friendly acquaintance of the parents, and now looking back, wish I had done so much more. I did invite her to church, which was, of course, happened to be the time, it was full-bloom rowdy worship night which probably shocked the poor woman. But only the Lord knows why she witnessed that.

Last year, this young man tried to reach my son, and started stalking him; my son, who fears this young man's lack of judgment (for instance, driving recklessly, and other things), was too afraid and distanced himself from him.

I resolved the stalking matter with his mom. The stalking has stopped. But I still want this young boy to find Jesus. I ask you sweet brethren if you'd life his name up in prayer. I personally believe he may have a touch of Asperger's, and possibly emotional problems. I feel for his loneliness and want so much to see him and his family have an appointment with the true God.

We don't live in the same town now. I imagine there are many other young people like this all over the hemisphere and it can be overwhelming when we realize the needs out there and we are so weak. But, with God all things are possible!! Anon. J.

Rick Frueh said...

Dear Anon - We all could do more. keep praying and God can fill in the gaps!

Anonymous said...

Make no mistake. Jon is doing sacred, anointed work. For over two decades now my husband also has been teaching and nurturing middle school and high school students who are marginalized and seriously at risk. Of course, here in the U. S. they are predominantly people of color. (We're white.) These are the poor and the oppressed; these are the ones who suffer so much injustice in this country. It is a high calling to serve them.

Ironically for a long time after attending seminary my husband thought he'd somehow missed a call to full time "ministry" because he works in a secular setting. We have come to realize over the years that it is a vital mistake for anyone who follows in the steps of Jesus and possesses the gift of His Spirit to think of our lives being split into the sacred and the secular. If whatever we do is done to His glory (1 Cor. 10:31) and to further God's kingdom (Matt. 6:10) then all of our life is a sacrament. We are a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9) offering sacrifices to God whereever He places us.

Thank You, Father, for the grace and mercy of Jon's (and his family's) life. Thank You for this visible witness of the Body of Christ in action. Thank You, praise You, that Your kingdom is being furthered on earth. THIS is our hope in Jesus. May You receive all the glory. Amen.

Kim K.

Cherie c. said...

Glory to God! This is surly His purpose for your son Pastor Rick.

Anon, God bless your heart. This post and the the next one really made my day, and the pain is subsiding, Thank You Lord.

Please keep Jackie in prayer. Jackie, please keep us posted. Stay strong dear sister.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

so humbled, so very humbled.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cherie; I'm Anon. J (Jackie). I'm sorry I didn't make it clearer in a previous post. Instead of using my name I just added J (ackie). I confess I love being Anon. but it's time to come out of hiding (Ha)

Thanks so much for prayers; the peace of the Lord has been with me ever since I asked. Thank you Jesus and brother and sisters. Thursday I go for a CAT Scan and other tests, pre-surgery. I'm sensing the Lord every day. Thank you Jesus.


Annette said...

Pastor Rick, please extend a gracious thank-you to your son for "Daring to Care." I have come to believe that the "missionary field is wide open," (and yes, there is a pun intended here, for I am a participating farm wife...experiencing the joys of burying the four wheel drive and digger in wet spots....but they looked dry on the surface!)

Also, please share with your son that there is a Body praying for him as he ministers mercy and grace in the school system, just as Jesus has commanded us to do. Thank-you Pastor Rick.

A sidenote here: I once worked in a school system and have seen those children whom the others shun...they live in a world of "aloneness"; not included in the others activities during the school day, sitting alone at the lunch tables, not getting invited to birthday parties, and basically given "no hope" by the adults in charge as well. So yes, the missionary "field" is alive and well, and "wide open" here in our country!

This post will put a spring in my step today! Thanks again, Pastor Rick....and your son too!