Friday, August 28, 2015

Brokenness and Grace: A Lesson for My Heart

So. It's been a while since I've come here in order to write something from deep within. I've wrestled with so many thoughts and feelings lately, but I've been so caught up in the "other stuff," I haven't allowed myself the time to just sit and write. And for that I'm sorry.

I think one of the things I keep coming back to day after day is this concept of brokenness and grace. You see a lot of brokenness working in ministry, and you can see why we each so desperately need grace. Oh, do we need it.

The funny thing about church is, we all put on this show of pretending to be great people, perfect Christians who have it together. All the while we know inside we're anything but great or perfect. We're damaged and flawed and hurt. We're broken. We sort of wish we could just be ourselves, just show someone what's inside, if only for a moment. We never can quite bring ourselves to do it, though. Being real is just too hard.

But then someone else shows their brokenness, usually in a way that makes us upset. Someone does something we disagree with, something we don't understand, something we think is wrong. Anger rises, words are whispered, we just don't understand. How could they do that?

I've learned in this song-and-dance we Christians like to do, that none of us are perfect and therefore, we'll all  fail each other all  the time. We won't put the equipment back the right way, we won't ask before we borrow something, we'll take someone else's food, we'll ask for help one too many times, we'll say something off-putting, we'll gossip. We're all just plain broken. Expecting this group of individuals who make up the Church to do things right even a fraction of the time is just unrealistic.

And that's why we need grace. All of us. Those who claim they know Jesus and those who don't. We all  need grace all  of the time. We need grace from God and we need grace from each other.

I haven't been very good at giving grace lately. When I see signs of hurt and brokenness manifesting themselves in other people, I get critical, I get short-tempered. I get tired of trying to love people who are difficult to understand. I want us all to be friends, to get along, but then I deny the one thing that makes true, genuine relationships possible: grace. And grace doesn't start with the other person, grace starts with me.

I have to be the first one to offer grace when I'm tired or frustrated and just want to give up on people. I have to be the one to offer grace when I'm hurt by the words or actions of others. I have to cling to the truth that it's better this way; it's better to choose grace than to let my heart grow hard. I have to offer grace, even if it means I stand alone.

Of course there will always be times where more is needed. We will need guidance, direction, rebuke, teaching, and correction, all done with love and godliness. But for this moment, this is my lesson: at all times, to all people, simply give grace. In so doing, I hope to break down walls, to show people it's okay to be imperfect, to struggle, to fail. It's okay to be broken.

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