Sometimes I stand in the shower and recount hard conversations, rearranging them until they tilt in my favor. Oh, to heal the hurt I feel! But I’ve learned the danger of this practice and how refocusing on grace helps me heal.
Many times, a thread of offense or unforgiveness can be detected in those rehashed exchanges. I deem it a form of self-protection, a way of secretly wagging a finger at the offending party and holding their actions against them. Seems innocent enough, but is it?
This record-keeping of wrongs fails to solve the problem. It leads me down a dangerous road toward sin through gossiping, bitterness, or withholding forgiveness. But the grace of Jesus adds salve to those wounds. It helps me heal the hurts I feel.
The Lord came to earth, offering grace to all. He keeps no record of wrongs. He refuses to rehash tilted conversations, too. The Savior of the world simply offers a generous dose of unmerited favor to all who will accept it–including perfectionists, those with dark or troubled pasts, people whose words pierce the hearts of others, and yes, even women who hold one-sided chats in the shower.
None of us stand innocent, yet Jesus forgives and showers grace on all. ~ @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet
John 1:14 describes Jesus as the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, one full of grace and truth. Although I’m tempted to think I’m innocent concerning my rehashed conversations, none of us are free from sin. But Jesus forgave us and showers grace anyway.
These days, when hurt or offense singes and I’m tempted to rehash them, I focus on Jesus instead. I hold close the gift of grace my Savior offers, remembering how much I need it and that His grace is sufficient. The Lord loves and forgives undeserving people—even those like me.
Refocusing on Jesus’ free gift of grace, I’m lured from the temptation to gossip or grow bitter and am drawn to prayer, forgiveness, and love instead.Refocusing on Jesus’ free gift of grace, I’m lured from the temptation to gossip or grow bitter and am drawn to prayer, forgiveness, and love instead. Click To Tweet I’d much rather have a conversation with Him than myself!
The next time you’re hurt or offended, why not consider Jesus and the love and grace He offered you? Focusing there helps heal our wounds.
What does it mean to rest in God’s grace? Does that sound theological and religious to anyone else?
Consider 2 Corinthians 12. Paul asked Jesus to remove a thorn in his side, something Scripture doesn’t reveal but that made Paul feel weak. Jesus response: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul concludes, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (v.9)
Said a different way: Jesus’ undeserved favor is complete and adequate enough for me. His authority over all shines faultlessly in our flaws and feebleness. His unmatched control over the entire universe adjoins with my lowly self and supplies a lifeline to cling to, a safety net to relax in. Because of my weakness, God can vividly display His divine power.
After Paul heard from the Lord, he decided that his inadequacy was worth it. When he truly surrendered, God could shine brightly through him— which wouldn’t be seen when he relied on himself.
But what does “resting in God’s grace” mean for me? Was I doing a good job at letting Jesus take over when I was weak, allowing His power to fix and heal and love?
I contemplated this as I finally got around to something I’d dreaded for weeks—dealing with my son’s behavior and inability to focus at school. I began researching doctors in our network. I called with questions, made appointments, and emailed my son’s former teacher for more information. All in an attempt to get the ball rolling towards a possible diagnosis.
And I’ll be honest, even looking up doctors who might help my son broke my heart. I felt weak, unknowledgeable, inadequate, and scared. The idea of getting him help should bring me hope, yet, I kept thinking, does this mean something’s wrong with him? Surely not, because God made him exactly the way He wanted him to be…
Jesus’ words came back to me. My grace is sufficient for you. Jesus’ favor, or blessing, for me is undeserved and enough to get me through anything. And more, when I am weak, His power rests on me. To “rest on” means to lean on, adjoin to, combine as one. So, if Christ’s power rests on me, then His power is now on me. I can be sure that God will help me figure out the best steps to take as a mother, knowing God loves my son even more than I do and will hold on to him tightly. I can relax because if God can take my weakness and use it for His glory and power, then He can also do the same for my son’s weakness. He can turn what is hard for him and make it shine somehow.
I will hold on to this verse as we navigate what’s challenging.
What trial or limitation do you need to surrender to Jesus? Claim His power in your weakness and walk forward knowing He’s resting His grace and mercy on you.
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Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION(R), NIV(R) Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. (R) Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
There was no way I was going to forgive her. She didn’t deserve forgiveness-she deserved to pay for what she’d done.
The thing is, “she” is me, and that’s exactly how I felt for years. I had no problem forgiving others, just myself. Psalms 103:12 says “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” But, I chose to believe that didn’t apply to me-that I needed to serve a sentence of shame before I could be exonerated from my guilt. Further, I was certain that my sins not only rendered me unworthy to receive God’s forgiveness but also His love.
Have you found that often the most difficult person to forgive is yourself? That was definitely the case for me, until God literally spoke into my situation.
I attended a worship service where I heard the story of a man’s miraculous physical healing. What struck me, though, wasn’t his physical healing, but the freedom he experienced from feelings of unworthiness. Following the man’s testimony, a pastor invited anyone who felt burdened by unworthiness to stand and receive prayer. Despite the pride that begged me to remain seated, I rose to my feet. And in the silent moments that followed the prayer, God spoke to me for the first time.
He said: Christa, I love you. I forgave you a long time ago, and you need to forgive yourself.
I was literally undone. Instantly freed from the tremendous weight of shame that would have eventually crushed me. I was overcome-with love.
Until that moment, I didn’t realize how much I’d allowed unforgiveness to affect my life and my relationships. I’d invited Christ into my heart but held God’s grace at arm’s length, refusing to accept it—unintentionally saying that Christ’s death was enough to vindicate others, but not me. Released from that burden, I was able to move forward, truly love myself, others, and God, and finally experience the freedom for which Christ died.
It’s not as though forgiveness erased the memory of my shameful sins, but it eradicated the oppressive power those memories had over me. Before, they were scars I desperately tried to cover. Now they’re scars I proudly point to and say, “Look what God has done in my life.”
Don’t allow unforgiveness to control you any longer. As you learn to live wholly loved, remember that God wants to do the same transformative work in you, turning your scars into a beautiful story of His love.
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