Been doing a lot of thinking about grace and mercy lately, brought about because a man I will call ‘John’ was recently exposed for a particular sin. The church he attended has not handled it well according to some people, with less grace and mercy than was expected given the messages of God’s grace and mercy they had heard for years from their pastor.
Well one day while driving home from doing a few errands I had the following thoughts . . .
I wondered if I was always going to be disappointed in the church for “not living what they believe” when all of a sudden WHAM!!! God showed me they ARE living what they believe. The problem is not that they are not living the grace message, but that they CANNOT because they really don’t believe it in their hearts. If their hearts were truly changed by the steadfast belief in God’s unconditional love and grace, they would live it, they would have to. We live what we believe!! Our perceptions become our reality even lies we believe.
Next I thought, how can I extend to ‘John’ forgiveness, grace and compassion for hurting others through his sin and not extend the same forgiveness, grace and compassion to the church leaders for hurting others through their sin in response to ‘John’s sin.
The truth is, I cannot.
If I’m going to live this message, I have to live it and extend it to EVERYONE. I cannot pick and choose to whom I give it, I have to give it unconditionally to all as God gives it unconditionally to me. This is where the message ‘freely I have received, freely I give’ comes into play.
To follow . . . I thought of how we reap what we sow. Well, I cannot choose to sow the above compassions etc. in the places I choose and sow the weeds of unforgiveness and offense in other areas I choose in amongst the seeds of compassion. I have to root out all the weeds lest they overtake the good seed. I have to sow compassion etc. to all the areas of the field. Therefore this serves to underscore the above thought of freely giving to everyone who sins, even the church at large whom I have rejected for the past 10 years. It’s out of unbelief and woundedness that we wound others. I cannot hold that against them for I am as they are. I am not the judge, just a simple ambassador of Christ and His love, grace and compassion and I MUST live it to the degree I believe in my heart. I have to let the ‘church’ go and let God do His work in their lives while allowing Him to do what needs to be done in my life.”
A friend recently sent me a song by Aaron Keyes: “Not Guilty Anymore” and it’s an amazing song of grace & mercy which is quite timely with what I’ve been learning about the depth of mercy.
I’ve been listening to it over and over and at first I thought of ‘John’ and his situation, then I thought of me and how it relates to me. I must confess I struggle in thinking my sin is just as bad as his, or any other sin we generally think of as a BIG sin, but the message goes deeper still.
As I continued listening, my thoughts then went to everyone who sinned against me and I realized as per previous revelation above, that unwarranted grace and mercy has to be extended to them.
Now I know how easy it is to give grace to those I love, to those who love me back, but it’s another thing to offer that same grace to those who have hurt me whom I don’t ‘love’, for example: landlord, boss and co-workers at work, against anyone who commits an act of injustice.
Regardless of who it is, I must give grace to everyone because when I hold an offense I am the one who steals my own freedom in that situation. This leads me to conclude that as long as I stay forgiving and refusing to be offended then I am free. When I don’t offer forgiveness and mercy, I lock myself into chains of bondage and that is working against the freedom God wants to give me through His grace.
I have been living a lifestyle of forgiveness and refusing to be offended when others sin against me for quite a few years, but the understanding of ‘why’ was superficial at best. God has taken that truth and in this present situation, gone deeper and given more freedom in the deeper understanding.
Here’s to the freedom of revelation from God.
Blessings to you all . . . . a Girl on a Journey