…return to the LORD your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in loving devotion…. (Joel 2:12)
Grace is not something I have fully understood and embraced for myself. I am quick to beat myself up and criticize myself for a decision that ends up costing me. In fact, just the other day I confessed something to my husband, something that I had been holding onto for over three years that unknowingly to me had caused a wedge between us.
Some decisions come with a tremendous amount of pain, but if we’re willing to look past our pain, we can find our purpose. You see, for me, as I process through that moment with my husband I realize that what I had been holding onto was really a misunderstanding of grace and some puffed up pride in my own heart.
Many of us are holding on to things that are destroying our relationships as well. Sometimes I have these thoughts about another person that they haven’t actually spoken out loud but are just ones I assume they believe about me. The wedge forms as communication breaks down and love flies out the window. It’s not that I want a wedge to be formed between us, it’s just that sometimes, I allow the enemy to play with my heart and my mind. Therefore, thinking less of someone because I believe that they think less of me.
No relationship will flourish without communication. Some conversations need to be hard conversations, one where you go to a place you’d rather not, but it’s for the growth of your own heart and theirs. We fear not being loved, so instead of seeking reconciliation, we hide our hearts. We never truly experience God’s love in our relationships because we don’t believe the person will extend it to us.
I wonder if that’s why friendships die and new ones start to replace them? Friendships die because communication stalls and the words of the enemy start to play with our hearts and minds. We start to believe things that have never been spoken or even thought. The driving force of our lives for others must be the love of God. Truly, without it, we’re sure to walk away from grace, taking in our own bitter pill of destruction.
Before we can do this though, we must understand something about God that we do not fully grasp. At least, I know I don’t fully grasp it just yet. It is His grace. It is His steadfast, loving kindness. It’s His enduring love for us. Truly, when we start to understand this kind of love, we can believe it for others too. Then, and only then can the body of Christ flourish in her relationships with one another through the steadfast, enduring love of God.
Lord, you know me. You know that I do not fully understand your love for me. I am quick to beat myself up and believe poorly of myself. Therefore, I believe others feel the same way about me that my insecurity tells me. Lord, set me on a high place, away from condemnation and towards my freedom found only in your grace, in Jesus name, Amen.