Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Grace and Baggage

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
Have you ever had one of those times when you have a topic on your mind and then it seems to appear in front of you?

Yep, that happened to me when I started reading this week’s chapter about grace. Just the day before I started reading, and without even thinking about or remembering the chapter, I’d been wondering…why does it seem easier to extend grace and forgiveness to a stranger or someone I barely know, than to a loved one? It doesn’t make sense. Or does it?

Baggage.

All that “stuff” that follows us from our past—the “stuff” we wish we could forget and leave behind where it belongs.

The baggage of repeated mistakes that make me think the apology I hear won’t be any different from the past ones. The baggage of repeated behavior that makes me not trust that anything will change.

Someone I barely know has baggage. Everyone does. But, the difference is…I don’t know about it. When I don’t know about that “stuff,” I have no reason to think that person isn’t sincere.

But it’s our loved ones, the repeat offenders, that make me hold onto my grace. As if I have a stockpile of it, ready to divvy out when I think the time is right.

Maybe it’s out of fear of being hurt, exhaustion of ongoing circumstances, or even spite, that I don’t want to put myself on the line. But the thing is—I don’t own grace. God doesn’t give each of us each some grace, expecting that it won’t all be given in one place.

Grace is not grace if it is deserved. If I think I deserve grace, then I’m trying to earn it, which means what I receive is not grace.

If I’m waiting for someone to prove they should receive grace from me, then what I’m holding back is not grace. It’s conditional love.

What if God did that? (I hate to think about it!)

The Good News is God doesn’t withhold grace. He showers it over us. He lavishes us in it.

Absolute unconditional love.

His perfect love expressed through His Son, Jesus.

Whereas I’m not sure I can forgive someone because I may or may not know everything, God does know.

He knows every single detail of our lives. Good and bad. Our pride and our shame.

And still He covers us in His grace.

His. Perfect. Forgiving. Undeserved. Grace.

He asks us to do the same. For those we barely know. And those we’re closest to.

And what’s more is when I can’t do it—when I don’t have it in me to forgive and extend grace—He does.

He won’t force me, but when I ask, He’s ready to supply me with what I need. Grace and forgiveness. Undeserved love for another. Over and over, as many times as I need, until my heart is changed.
But he replied, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. 2 Corinthians 12:9 CEV
His power is strongest when I am weak.

When I can’t get past the pain to forgive, He has the strength I need.

When all I have is conditional love for someone, He has unconditional love for me and my someone else.

When I am weak, He is strong and powerful.

When I have nothing, His grace shines over me.

And it is all I need.

Thank you for joining me here today. Our chapter this week in Sheila Walsh’s The Shelter of God’s Promises is Chapter 6 “Grace…I Have Failed.”

In Christ,
Laura

3 comments:

  1. oh grace!! Grace that is greater than all our sin. Thank you for linking up! Blessings.

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    1. Amazing, isn't it? Thanks for hosting the link-up and visiting here Rachel!

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  2. Great truth here! Thanks for sharing this with us, Laura!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!