Friday, February 28, 2014

Grace. It's something we talk about. We all admire it when we see it in others. We are all supposed to strive to exhibit it. But we often, so very often, fall very, very short.

I have been burdened by this ever since I answered a poll recently that an author posted asking what topic her readers would like to see her explore. I answered it: Grace. I want to know as much as I can about the elusive gift that, as a follower of the Author of Grace, is mine to claim. I want to own it. I want to embrace it. And I want to show it in every circumstance in every moment of every day. I want people to wonder what it is about me that makes me have this grace, so that they can KNOW it's JESUS!

John 1:16-17 Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness, for the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

But it is hard.

It's hard when we are surrounded by a world that has fallen so deeply away from anything resembling "grace." This world we are in is filled with people who want only to glorify themselves and to gain attention and a following, no matter how shallow or fleeting. And no matter the cost.

Recently I observed someone receive a gift from a person whom she had just treated very badly. The grace in that moment brought tears to my eyes, for the giver never acknowledged the wrong done to her, but neither did the recipient of the gift- the one who had been so cruel. What's wrong with us, sisters? What is happening to us? Are we really so concerned with how much we weigh and what we wear and who our friends are that we are cold and bitter to those who don't meet our "Requirement of the Month?" How dare we treat others with disrespect? How dare we treat others less than we would want to be treated? How dare we?

After I finished fuming, the Holy Spirit began to work on me. I thought about my own gift of salvation and how I have been so guilty of taking that gift as though I deserved it. I thought about how Christ must feel watching me take Him for granted. I ached at the thought. How dare I?

Even now, as I write, I fear that my words will not be received in the way they are intended. I want so badly to touch lives in a way that points people toward the One Who can guide them to grace and peace and love and joy and all of the rewards of heaven. I do not want to distance myself from people I care about, but I must answer to my Lord and I must, in some manner, share the thoughts that He leads me to develop. Even if it is a little cowardly, sitting in front of a computer in my family room.

I try so hard to remember to use "social media" in proper and appropriate ways. I try to take the advice that another admired author suggested and to write and then walk away. Let it rest. Let the Spirit work on my heart and then go back and re-read the words I have written.

 Do they glorify Him?
Do they hurt anyone?
Are they His?

This advice has caused me to practically wear out my Delete and Backspace buttons. I have at least five drafts in my blog queue waiting to be edited or deleted, written in haste and not quite ready for reading.

It's useful, too, this waiting and examining, in our simple posts and tweets, and picture postings. Today I saw a viral video of a child simply being... a Child. But because of the circumstance, people were laughing at her. Laughing. Who offered this to national media? No one. Someone simply posted it on YouTube and it no longer became their property. It belonged to everyone now, so this little girl is going to be embarrassed and laughed at by millions of people when all she was doing was...being free.

We take to social media when we are hurt, angry, frustrated. It's one thing when we do it and an adult is the victim; it's a whole different thing when it's a child. Where is the grace in that? What if Jesus (and this may get me in some trouble here) were to go on Facebook and complain to everyone about how we treat Him? What if He were to post pictures of the things we have done that have hurt Him? After all, He gave His life for us and we have not behaved the way He has instructed us to.
Are you following my point???

The very ones WE would give OUR lives for are not safe when they have "mouthed off" or have let a chore slide or have had a meltdown within range of a smartphone. Here's some free advice: blowing off steam about your teenager may get you a lot of "likes,' but it won't get you any closer to your kid. If you wouldn't post it about your boss or your mom or yourself, don't post it about your child. That's just not fair.

So yeah, this may lose me some friends or maybe get some negative feedback. That's ok. I can take it. I'm a grown up. And hopefully I'll handle it with grace.

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