Mom was not a hipster. She certainly did not care for rock and roll or modern music. But one modern song mom often sang she sang with a smile – and then she would laugh. I’m guessing she heard the song while watching the TV show Cops. “Bad Boys” is the song she would sing, but she would sing it as “bad boy, bad boy, what you gonna do when they come for you? This song was by the Jamaican reggae band Inner Circle.
Why did she sing it? She was caring for my father in their home. He was dying. I will spare you the details, but it is safe to say that there was nothing pleasant, fun or enjoyable about the things she had to do to clean him and clean up after him. He would appreciate her help and I am certain he would say that he was a burden too great to bear. Mom, however, was a servant and a helper following the model of her Savior. She cleaned him up at the worst hours of the night or early morning and did so without complaint. As part of her ritual when things were difficult, mom would sing “bad boy, bad boy, what you gonna do when they come for you?” Both mom and dad knew that wasn’t what she had in mind. She did it to relieve the tension and pain.
The reality is that mom had a lot of bad boys in her life. I was one of them. My two brothers were in the group. And the prisoners she wrote to were also part of the gang of bad boys in her life. But she also understood this central truth: she was no different. Romans 3:23 made this very clear to her. It says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” I memorized this as a child. But don’t miss the verses that follow. Paul goes on to say sinners can be “…justified by his (God’s) grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Mom was a sinner. But she had a Savior who justified her and redeemed her and forgave her. Therefore, she could sing her song and laugh with joy because she was forgiven. She lived a life overflowing with knowing her Savior in a tangible way. Paul says this in Philippians 3:7-8: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
She served dad because her Savior had served her. Her losses were rubbish in her eyes because she had a greater view than the temporary struggles and trials. I desire to live like that. But that is only possible because of and in Christ.