resting in grace

I was recently having a conversation about the human tendency to react according to how we've been treated. In marriage, friendship, any kind of relationship, it's easy to give back what is being given. If someone snaps at me, I want to snap back. When someone is unreliable, I want to write them off. I only have so much love and kindness to give, and I'm not going to waste it on those who are undeserving. That's what my sinful heart says.

In that conversation, someone said something so small yet amazing. They said "Somebody needs to stop and display the gospel." It's so simple and seemingly obvious, but it blew me away. If God's treatment of me was based on how deserving I was, I would be in serious trouble. I am unfaithful, disrespectful, and dishonest. I am prideful and entitled. I am so many things that should disqualify me from the love of God. Yet, they don't. I run away time and again, but He is always there to lift the weight of shame from my shoulders and give me rest.

Not only does he lavish his love on me, but he pours it into me. While I'm busy justifying why someone deserves my reactionary treatment, He is quietly reminding me that it isn't my kindness to withhold. It's his to give. Every relationship I have is made possible through the gospel alone. I am too selfish, too spiteful, too broken to live in community with anyone. His grace is what quiets those tendencies and gives me the space to love others. Each one is a blessing, an opportunity to give and be given to. They are tangible proof of redemption's power.

Yet there I stand, jumping at the chance to repay brokenness with brokenness. I want them to feel the weight of how they've treated me, because I'm so quick to forget the grace that I am shown every day. The only thing I can do in response to the gospel I've been given is to let it pour from me. In those moments when I am hurt and angry, I have to stop. I have to stop focusing on my feelings and remember the insurmountable importance of God's redemptive work.

It's easy to perpetuate a sinful and unhealthy cycle. I want my feelings to be most important. When someone challenges that I don't want to relent. I don't want to consider them more important than myself. I don't want to let them off the hook. But what other choice do I have? I wake up begging for grace anew every morning, and God is faithful to give it. That means that I get to stop my rollercoaster of emotions and justifications and just simply show the gospel. 

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