Friday, July 7, 2017

Finding Grace

I can't lie--this season of life has been so hard. I've spent a lot of time, too much time, being angry. And now that the tides have begun to change, I find myself living in the aftermath. I thought I would feel relieved on this side of things, but I feel broken.

In this brokenness I see the wrongs that have been committed and I am forced to face them. And the more I look at the wrongs I feel have been done to me, I see the wrongs that have been done by me. I am forced to confront everything I believe about grace.

If you asked me what I believe about grace, I would tell you it's from Jesus, and it's for everyone. It doesn't matter what you've done, how far you've fallen, where you've gone wrong. Grace is offered freely. "Indeed we have all received grace after grace from His fullness, for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1:16-17) Grace through faith in Jesus saves us (Ephesians 2:8-9), I believe that with all that I am.

I believe that it is grace that empowers us beyond ourselves. It allows us to be used by God, even in the midst of our mistakes and sinfulness. It redeems us and draws us out of every pit we dig for ourselves. Grace surpasses every wrong we could commit. And grace motivates us to live like what we truly are--redeemed, forgiven, free.

But even with this grace so free, I see the ways we all struggle to give it away, whether to ourselves or to others. Somewhere in the midst of the wrong and the pain, we feel we have a right, a responsibility, to hold onto the wrongs committed. It doesn't really matter who committed them, withholding grace from ourselves or others is always the same--it's debilitating, and it's not our job.

"For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God" (1Peter 3:18a). Jesus has already paid for every wrong, He did that at the cross, giving us the ultimate gift of grace and buying our freedom. "Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free." (John 8:36) In this world starving for grace, it is a mistake to withhold the greatest gift we have been given, even to withhold it from ourselves.

I want grace in my life, every day. I haven't been perfect. I've made more mistakes than I can remember and I know on my own, I can't do anything good. But I also know that I can't be willing to offer myself grace and not offer it to others. I know that I believe grace and Jesus are available to all, and I can't stop sharing that.

This season of life has been hard, but it has also forged a new understanding of grace. I am thankful for it and pray that I will carry it with me always, giving grace freely as long as I live.
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