always grace

I’m judgmental.  I wish I weren’t so prone to this.  I try to justify myself, because somehow it seems acceptable to be judgmental of the “judgmental people”.  Doesn’t it??  I can tell you all of the reasons why. :)  But that all bites me in the butt, because I’m choosing to become like the very people I think deserve judgement, meaning I deserve it, too.  Dang.  Unfortunately admitting to this is not going to change the fact that it’s what my heart is inclined to do.  Because I’m just so good and coming up with reasons why it’s okay.  Jesus was most harsh with the Pharisees, I’ll just follow his example. So am I missing something?…

Someone said something last night and I realized, once again, that grace is much deeper, much more radical, much more beautiful, and much more unbelievable than I’ve yet experienced it to be.  And what I’ve experienced is seriously freaking beautiful.   And did you know… It’s freely lavished to all who want it and it never stops coming…there is no end…no end to this grace, this love, this gift of second chances…and somehow it’s always more of all these things than we can imagine…

Living in the Bible belt makes me especially prone to thinking I’ve got every right to be angry with the holy roller, holier than thou, follow-all-of-the-rules-in-the-name-of-Jesus people that seem to be swarming around everywhere like mosquitoes or fruit flies that annoy the crap out of me.  And in all honesty, my heart is not completely wrong…but it’s certainly not completely right.   It’s messy…my motives are mixed.  Our hearts are always messy, I think.

…But what makes me want to scream and cry and shake some people and then hug and weep with and hold and speak grace to the others they’ve hurt or offended…is the way that that form of Christianity has caused so much pain, confusion, and understandable hatred of all things religious.  The kind of Christianity that says, “I’ve got all my shit together (minus the “shit” part, of course ;))…this is how things are…black and white…fit in this box or else…the Bible must be interpreted this way…don’t ask questions…no room to doubt…”
And maybe some of this has to do with some of my own pain.  Pain from my past.  Pain from thinking I had to live and think this way.  And maybe it’s hard…but maybe I can imagine the pain I must have caused others then, too…

But then last night I heard something like this.  …That Jesus weeps.  That he weeps for their lostness the way he weeps for the pain and brokenness of those they oppress.   Dang.  And if so…then this becomes more personal.  Because it means he wept for my own lostness when I was living my faith in ways that at times did more harm than good.  He wept, because I was so often missing the point…missing real grace.  Real life and freedom.  He wept because I thought I had to do “blah blah blah” to be good enough…more worthy of love

And then I wonder…is that what we are all struggling for…just in our own way?  The holy roller, the oppressed, and everyone in between.  Don’t we all just want to be good enough and worthy of love?

I don’t know how to finish this.  All I know is grace.  The freely lavished love that says to us all,

“I want you…I choose you…I want to love you…forever…without condition,…stop trying…you with your stinky religious piety, and you…no need to worry that you’ll never be good enough..it’s not the point…or that you’ve fucked up too many times…never, please…will you accept my love and my grace and my compassion?..it’s here…it will always be here..always has been…available to you…whenever you want it…always.”

Always grace.  I want to accept that.  That is the Jesus I want to know.  And I think that is what transforms a life and a world.  That’s it.  Yeah?

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