Years ago, when Paul was still very young, an older saint stopped to talk with me at church.
She didn’t use any of the ‘right’ words to describe Paul’s disabilities; in fact, she used most of the wrong words!
This was in the days when I was hyper-sensitive about anything connected to my son or his disabilities. I was more than prepared to take offense at the smallest of things, and using the wrong words would not have been a small thing.
But all I felt were her godly affections for me and for my son.
I thought of that old saint as I read Mary Beeke’s The Law of Kindness: Serving with Heart and Hands:
Oil flows from an oil well. A mountain stream produces fresh water. The source gives its own product. A loving heart produces loving words. Some fountains trickle, some effuse. Whether we speak much or little, let our words be good and kind. Beeke, p. 179.
Her words weren’t ‘correct,’ but her heart certainly was. Her loving heart made her words land on me as loving.
The Holy Spirit helped me see something, or, rather, he helped me to feel something real and powerful in the midst of so much chaos and hurt and bitterness in those days.
Why am I a Christian hedonist today? At root, of course, is that God did the miracle of making me finally alive. But God has also used old (and young) saints to pursue us in love, and that love comes from an overflowing joy in and gratefulness toward Jesus. And I want to be like that.