Fresh out of grace

I feel fresh out of grace this morning.

It’s hard, this Christian life.  Following God, seeking God, living an authentic faith is hard work.  Doing the right thing–living out love and grace requires sacrifice and we ((I)) don’t like to sacrifice.

I don’t feel like doing something today–I’m not going to tell you what it is because it doesn’t matter.  But I don’t want to do it.  I’m mad and haven’t forgiven and so doing the thing I need to do feels hard.  I’d rather hold on to the bitterness and pout.  But, Jesus didn’t say to forgive someone  when you feel like it or when their offenses  are minor or when they ask for forgiveness.  No.  Here’s what He said in the book that Matthew recorded:

“Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”

Why did Jesus have to say stuff like that?  Why didn’t he give us some sort of out or free pass according to our circumstances?   The inconvenient truth is, He didn’t.  He didn’t say to forgive when you feel ready to forgive or forgive someone when it’s not so bad or forgive once in a while for certain things or forgive so you’ll be ok.  He said “forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive”.  And if you look at the context, He’s telling Peter to forgive the same person seventy times seven.  {Now, I’m assuming I don’t have to get into the whole abusive relationship conversation here–that’s not what I’m talking about–we’re not doormats and Jesus addresses that in Matthew 7.}  But that is not the point.  The point is, we get hurt and hurt each other, even in good, healthy relationships, all the time.  And instead of giving and receiving forgiveness, we keep score and hang on and don’t let go.

And I need to let go.  And forgive.  And extend grace.  Even though no apology will ever be offered and probably nothing will change.  And even though I feel fresh out of grace, God–the Father of Light and Giver of all good gifts–will provide the grace upon grace upon grace and the forgiveness upon forgiveness upon forgiveness that I need for this moment and this day.

Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.

I am counting on the Lord;
yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word.
~Psalm 130

 For from his {Jesus} fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. ~John




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