A friend recently shared with me about an encounter she had with a teenage girl. Just as she was about to go into the Sanctuary for the Sunday morning worship, this young girl pulled her aside and broke down in tears. She confessed that she had made some bad choices in her personal life and was feeling terrible about herself and unworthy of God’s love. My friend comforted and supported her. She also tried desperately to persuade her that everyone in the worship service was just as flawed and broken as she was. I can’t tell you the joy I felt knowing that a vulnerable, tender spirit was having face-to-face meeting with grace. My guess is that years from now a grown woman will look back at perhaps this life-altering exchange and remember it with gratitude. Having experience and met so many folks who, when facing failure, were met with criticism, guilt and condemnation, I’m thrilled that instead of moving forward in shame and brokenness, this girl is more likely to learn and heal from her mistakes. That, I believe, is the church at its finest.