or will i turn away the gift of grace that God is offering this messed up sinner?
these are the two questions i am confronted with daily. it seems like an easy choice. i can receive love or i can reject it. oh but it is so not easy. it is a moment by moment struggle to open myself up to what i do not deserve nor understand.
but i want love.
i choose grace.
i choose grace.
one of the most powerful messages i have ever heard in relation to love and grace came from randy gariss during his a lifetime love conference. he asked the question why doesn't love last? it turns out to be pretty simple. we have to be willing to love someone in spite of who they are and what they do. we have to be willing to love with grace.
you see, the world tells us something different. there are two commonly accepted types of love:
- i love you if (or as long as) you meet my needs.
- i love you because of who you are.
it seems pretty obvious to me that the first is an immature and selfish take on love, but i guarantee you our divorce rate has been impacted by this reasoning. the second doesn't seem that bad. it seems less self-centered and almost wise. most choose a spouse based on a set of desired qualities. i hope to encourage my children to look for certain attributes and maintain high standards
but it is not enough. what happens when the person changes? what happens when they do something ugly that outweighs the good? does that give us permission to no longer love? is marriage a contract that can be dissolved when the terms are no longer met? or is it a covenant with God? does the bible say love one another, as I have loved you, but only if. . .?
i am pretty sure there are not any conditions on it.
a week after i attended that conference, our marriage hit rock bottom. it was a dark and heartbreaking time. i can tell you that neither of the world's definitions of love would have brought us through.
instead i filled the pages of a journal with in-spite-ofs. it was hand written therapy to heal and process. at one point, i looked down and realized that nothing i had penned about my dear husband was any worse than my own wretchedness.
i am a sinner.
yet i am loved.
grace is God saying he loves me IN SPITE OF my sin.
He loves me with unmerited favor.
He sacrificed His Son in my place.
and He asks me to love others just as He loved. He asks me to love jesse in spite of jesse's sin. i am Christ's ambassador in my husband's life and that is an incredibly high calling. even more, i am called to be this witness to the entire world. man is that scary. i am going to need His grace so so much. because i am confident i will forget that it is not about me and my needs. i will forget to love in spite of the pain and discomfort and yuck.
each day is a new opportunity to receive true Love.
each person is another chance to give it.
i need to choose the gift of grace over and over and over.