Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Grace Deficient

So imagine being told that someone has no desire to meet your spouse. Because of preconceived notions and judgements formulated in their own mind, they do not want to meet one of the most important people in your life. The one person in your life who has taught and demonstrated God’s love to you more than anyone else and they don’t want to know them. That was the dilemma I was facing. That was my heartache. But God quickly turned that dilemma into a great lesson. 

You see, over the course of a messy divorce, I learned a lot about people. I also learned even more about God and His unending love and amazing grace for His children. For those who would refuse to accept someone they have never even met based solely on assumptions and judgements and cast them aside leads me to believe that they may have a grace deficiency. 

 I have come to realize that when you struggle with any kind of sin, there will be those who stand on the sidelines casting their stones in your direction. They will point fingers, talk, and make their judgements yet stand confused as they cannot quite make sense as to how it is that Jesus is working through your mess of a life. I don’t mean that to come across arrogant. Instead quite the opposite. I am a sinner who feels unworthy of being used by God. I have failed on so many occasions but my Jesus did something amazing for me. He paid an amazing price for my life so that my life could be used for His Father's glory. 

Imagine standing in a room full of people. You are there with your struggles and sin trying to make sense of a life gone wrong. Around the room are those who turn up their noses and point fingers making assumptions of every wrong decision you have made. Suddenly you look and there He is. There is Jesus. You suddenly become confused. Why? Because He is standing next to you. You don’t understand. You see, all those in the room pointing their fingers are the ones who have lived such good lives. They do all the right things. They say the right things. Why is He standing with you? Then He looks at you and speaks.


 “Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.” 
Then He adds,
 “Now go and learn the meaning of this scripture: I want you to show mercy not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” 
 Matthew 9:12-13 

 There it is. In a nutshell. He is there with you because you get it. You know you are a sinner and you know you need His grace.

Sometimes it is hard for those who have lived such a “blameless” life to understand how it is that those who have messed up so bad in life can be used by God but that scripture makes it abundantly clear. You see, Jesus takes our greatest failures and our deepest regrets and biggest heartaches and He uses them to do amazing things. When we turn it all over to Him, seek His forgiveness in true repentance, He restores us. But not only that He makes us shine brighter than we ever did before. Why? Because we get it.  We recognize that we are frail, weak and sinful. We realize that before we did not get it. We were being held in bondage by rules and regulations that were keeping us from walking with Him so intimately. We now understand what it means to fall flat on our face and have the Creator of the Universe pick us up and say, “My child I love you.” We have been through so much and gotten it wrong so many times that turning down our noses at another is not possible. Instead we see a world full of people just like us. People who are hurting and broken, longing to be rescued. And that is exactly what He does. He rescues. He pulls us out of the miry clay and He begins to mold and fashion us into something so beautiful. But the incredible thing is that we are not just beautiful, but we are usable too. Because we have been beaten and bruised by the ugliness of the world, we’re easier to shape into His likeness. It is easier to mold us into His image because we yearn to be like Him. We desire to be transformed. We want Him. We long to share Him and everything He has done and given to us. We can’t get enough. We look at the world and see what He sees: The hurt, the lonely, the struggling, the abandoned, the beaten, the betrayed, the orphaned, and our hearts overflow with love for them. We see the world with His eyes and our hearts flow with compassion, mercy and grace for those who need hope, who need Him just like we did. And so, He uses us. He is using my husband. He is using me. He is using our marriage. Because of His grace we are being used to bring His Father glory and show His Father’s love to those who need rescuing. 

 As Christians, this isn’t new information. Throughout scripture that is always where you found Jesus. With the sinners, the downtrodden and the lost. He was with the ones who needed rescuing and He avoided the ones who “followed” the rules because they had no place for Him in their lives. That was the mission of Jesus. That should be our mission. Not to turn up our noses at those who stumble and fall but instead to offer them the grace, mercy and love that Jesus offered to us. Why? Because that is what Jesus would do!