How did grace unfold for me?
I didn’t feel as though I was worthy of Ben’s OR God’s forgiveness, much less Grace. Grace is so much bigger than just forgiveness…not to lessen the importance or impact of forgiveness…but Grace is so stunningly unexpected that it brings with it an almost crippling sense of love. Crippling in a good way. Crippling in a way that brings us to our knees. Unable to move. Unable to utter a sound. Unable to resist.
As I began to be still, be quiet and begin to accept Grace, a shift happened deep in my soul. I became more aware of how desperate I was for the forgiveness Ben had to offer, even if I still didn’t feel worthy of it. Little by little, I allowed that forgiveness to become the lens I saw myself through…the lens I saw others through. It allowed me to begin to believe that I could live a redeemed life. A life full of Grace.
In the women’s group I’m leading this fall, we talked of Grace last night. We talked of how crappy we all are at offering Grace to ourselves and to other people. It was a rich conversation. It makes me crave even more Grace. I pray you will, too, as I leave you with this excerpt from the book we are discussing, ‘bittersweet’ by Shauna Niequist.
“So these days I’m on the lookout for grace, and I’m especially on the lookout for ways that I withhold grace from myself and from other people. At first, showing people grace makes you feel powerful, like scattering candy from a float in a parade – grace for you, grace for you. You become almost giddy, thinking of people in generous ways, allowing for their faults, absorbing minor irritations. You feel great, and then you start to feel just ever so slightly superior, because you’re so incredibly evolved and gracious.
But then inevitably something happens, and it usually involved you confronting one of your worst selves, often in public, and you realize that you’re not throwing candy off a float to a nameless, dirty public, but rather that you are that nameless, dirty public, and that you are starving and on your knees, praying for a little piece of sweetness, just one mouthful of grace.”
'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.' Matt 25:40 MSG