Saturday, 20 April 2013

Grace - Broken, Living, Grace

Grace. One of my 'words' to live by this year. My actual word was kindness, but I can't do that without doing and being and obeying Grace.

I remembered my 'word' afresh when reading Ed's blog recommendations this week, and was reminded of the beautifully evocative words of Ann Voskamp.
She's writing about abortion, but says:
"When we’re all about the best looking good instead of the broken living grace, some don’t think they can take the shame. Some take an appointment. We can shame a woman for getting pregnant and we can shame her for aborting that baby but it’s shame for sin that bullies into further sin and what if instead of shaming, we weren’t ashamed of the Gospel of extravagant Grace?"

The broken living grace.

Isn't it easy just to try to look good all the time? To hide faults and failures and mistakes and misdemeanours and just pretend pretend pretend I'm better than you? 

A couple of weeks ago a woman I know - in church - came to apologise - in church - for her distance/unfriendliness/offences. She'd realised there was an awkwardness between us.

I'd just thought she was being unfriendly.
I had stuffed the problem away, doing the 'vague friendly smile which doesn't mean anything but ticks the social box'. Pretending. Trying to Look Good as best I could instead of extending Living Grace from my Brokenness.

She hadn't meant to offend me.

I had been unfriendly too, in reaction. But as we talked, who knew who had offended first? The whole situation wasn't even 'about us', but had arisen out of other circumstances and difficulties. Our individual responses to those outside issues had coloured our inward selves and poisoned our relationship.

Misunderstandings, miscommunication... it might have become ugly.

She had the grace to approach me first.
Oh, the temptation. To say 'ohnothere'snothingwrong - youmustbeimaginingit'. To give in to that ever strong desire to hide behind the appearance of perfection.To let the pull of denial send her away quickly to feel bad about herself. 

I took courage to admit she was right. I acknowledged my fault. So did she.
We wiped clean a smeary teary slate.

Broken Living Grace.

And so we shamed sin (our unloving attitudes) and prevented it from bullying into further sin by choosing the Jesus way of honesty and forgiveness. Choosing grace.

Interestingly, today I have also read about love here from Max Lucado's Grace for the Moment, and from Devotionals Daily:

True Love Puts Others First
Love is patient, love is kind... It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. — 1 Corinthians 13:4–5...
What is the opposite of love?

It isn't hate (although it may take that form). The opposite of love is selfishness. When a husband and wife  
(or, if I may add, two friends/acquaintances/colleagues/neighbours/church members) are concerned only about their own individual desires, the stage is set for conflict.

The Bible gives us another way—the way of Christ. True love, it says, is self-giving, not self-seeking. True love puts the needs of others first. This is what Christ did when He left Heaven’s glory and came down to earth for us. Begin a new page in your marriage by asking Christ to become the center of your life—and your marriage.

Questions for today: What is your response to "The opposite of love is selfishness"? In what ways can you make Christ the center today? We'd love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts in the comments section on our blog. ~ Devotionals Daily

Best is Love. and Grace. 

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