top of page


Analogies keep running through my mind as I sleep and I finally had to wake up and write them down.  Years ago I had the privilege of reading Victor Hugo's book, Les Miserables.  Tonight as I slept I couldn't help remembering the story about Jean Valjean, a man who stole a loaf of bread to feed his starving family.  That one act led to years of imprisonment and harsh treatment.  After his release in desperation, he stole a coin and spent years running from the obsessed police inspector who was trying to hunt him down.  Jean Valjean was never able to escape his past. He lived with resentment for the remainder of his life because of what he'd done.  But tonight as I slept I couldn't help thinking what if the judges had offered him grace instead of slapping his hands and imprisoning him? What if the judge had provided his starving family with food so this family could get back on their feet? This is the image that continues to play through my mind.  But this didn't happen.  For his entire life, he lived with the feeling of being a thief.  But a priest, a man with a heart of love and compassion reached into Jean's broken, hurting life after he stole a coin following his release. This priest encouraged Jean Valjean to find a new path. The priest's words changed the course of Jean's life forever. He eventually began a thriving business, implementing a new idea that led to huge amounts of success and wealth.  In this business, he also gave to his employees.  When he heard about a man being wrongly charged for something Jean Valjean had done, he went to court and told them that he was the one who had done that thing, not the person they were convicting of the crime so the wrongfully accused prisoner's life was spared. Grace stepped in and saved his life. Jean Valjean who had stolen the bread to help his family became a man with a heart of love for others. He eventually promised to help his dying employee, Fantine, by rescuing her daughter from an abusive family.  When Fantine died he went looking for her daughter Cosette and rescued her and he cared for her as a father would. She became his daughter.

Les Miserables is a story of grace and love and it reminds me of what God did for us. He became the sacrificial lamb that died to cleanse and purify each of us from our sins.  This is grace.  Grace is what God wants us to share with others.  This is the thing that changes lives.  It reminds me of Jesus in the upper room when he conducted the service of humility to his own disciples.  In a quiet moment when His betrayer had turned Him in, He grabbed a bowl filled it with water and knelt down at the feet of His disciples and washed each of their feet.  This is love.  I can't help thinking about feet washing and grace and love.  This is what our Christian life should be.  It should be one of love.  May we all become servants who extol grace and love rather than judgment and legalism.  Imagine what our world would be like if we did this.  There is always room for punishment but love is what speaks so much louder.  May God fill us with His love today so we may be the hands, feet, and heart of God today to the people God places in our paths.  May we be people filled with grace and love.

bottom of page