Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Grace for You
At lunch today, a classmate friend mentioned grace - that is, our ability to give others room to grow, to be authentic, even to hurt in front of us and still be embraced. It's the capacity to love rather than coach, remembering that we're all human.
And I told her, as I'm telling you now - I struggle with being gracious. My nature is to critique and assess, formulating right and wrong. It's not something I aim for or even like, yet it comes automatically.
Contrary to popular opinion, judgment isn't unique to faith; instead, it's a human tendency, something that serves a purpose. Being quick to critique, criticize, and even advise does something for us. Maybe it maintains the black-and-white lines of our world. Maybe it conceals our own struggles.
I don't know exactly what it does for me. But I do know this:
It doesn't help me connect with people, love better, or reflect Christ. (He did things like this, you remember.) No, gracelessness doesn't honor Him. And last time I checked, it didn't exactly meet that whole fruit-of-the-Spirit standard, either.
(Yet even as I'm writing this, the temptation to delete my confession is fierce. Maybe because I'm afraid of being judged, too?)
Timothy Keller lays it out this way:
"The gospel does not say, 'the good are in and the bad are out,' nor 'the open-minded are in and the judgmental are out.' The gospel says the humble are in and the proud are out. The gospel says the people who know they're not better, nor more open-minded, nor more moral than anyone else, are in, and the people who think they are on the right side of the divide are most in danger."
And where, my friends, are you? Where am I? Could we be brave today, courageous enough to look closely at our own deep hearts?
We each need grace, me most of all (I promise you, I promise you). Do you know how "most" my pride has been, grieving the One who loves me anyway? When I should have loved, I've run away in fear. This is the stain of pride, my greatest guilt.
I forget He didn't choose me because I was already straight. And He doesn't choose me today because I'm fixed.
Yet even here, He meets me. Stooped low, He breathes grace onto me. And just as I can breathe it in, so I can breathe it out onto others, day by day by day.
And what about you, my friend? Grace for you, too?
Praying for grace with this long post,
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/javaturtle/133316103/