I guess even giving grace isn’t exactly what I want to say. What I want to say is that working at grace with someone and being graceful about that in your life aren’t the same things. At least they aren’t the same for me. The first seems to work out so much more…gracefully…than the second. Working for grace with people is difficult, but necessary, which is probably why I find it easier than living the whole idea out in life. Confusing? Yes.
We give grace, get grace, and work toward mutual grace every day. The problem is that we are human and a big portion of grace is risk. We have to be willing to risk letting go of the offense that made against us, and we literally have to be willing to suffer the consequences for someone else’s actions. That being said, they have to be willing to receive the idea that we are willing to suffer for them. That concept is the really tricky thing about grace. That two sided coin of giving grace/receiving grace is a bit of a sticking spot.
My point is that I can dole out cheap grace without ever expecting anyone to be redeemed through it, but it makes us all feel better. Or, I can work toward grace with someone, possibly get hurt in the end, and never see that person be redeemed. I want grace to be easy, and I want to be graceful about giving, but sometimes, I just can’t be.
Sometimes, in my not so graceful moments, I want to say to people: “You really fucked up, and it’s all on you. You did it. You pay the consequences. I tried to give you grace but you won’t take, so live in the tangled web you weave. Besides I am sick as shit of the way you conduct yourself.” I know, though, that many times in my life, I have had people who wanted to say that to me, but for whatever reason didn’t say it. They just kept trudging through the muck with me, holding me up, and making sure that I made it through.
Other times, I want to run around saying, “Look at me I gave you grace. I helped you through this spot. I did nothing but extend a warm hand and kind heart to your breaking one. Why are dragging me down with you?” And isn’t the whole point that the other person, the one who committed the offense gets to say: “Look I made it through.” Without actually saying it, the person who receives grace points toward the person who gave them that grace and implies that grace can work for you, too. But, that is the risk of grace. Sometimes you get dragged down, too, and the person who needs your grace can’t get it.
I’m thinking of our lives as Christians: we fuck up, we get grace from Jesus, we accept that grace, and our actions in redemption point the finger back to him, saying, “My grace comes from God, you can get some, too.” Our grace should flow out of us, indicating to people that where we live, grace abounds.
So, I guess some recent events in my life have happened to remind me how redemptive grace works. It’s hard, it hurts, and you sometimes have to be willing to let go, because the people who need to receive grace the most sometimes just don’t want it. I want to let go, but I also want to work at grace. I can’t work at it with someone who doesn’t want to work at it with me, though. The giver of grace has to be willing to recognize that sometimes the receiver doesn’t want it.
I’m not perfect. I have a long way to go in order to even be a shadow of the woman I want to become, but that’s grace. I give grace. I receive grace. I am redeemed.
I said I wasn’t going to write until next week, but I lied. I just had to get that off my chest. And, now, you don’t know me again for five days.