One Wonderful Kindness

Jesus calls us to be light. Not to be liked.

The two words may sound the same, and I’ve done my fair share of confusing the two as I seek to be liked light in my community, but they are different. This side of Glory, they are so very different.

Those of us who long to be more like Jesus and less like us, are also called to a higher standard of caring for one another. Both the other that we know, identify with, and like, as well as the other that we don’t.

I come a little late to this discussion, but I’ve been giving The Pool Party incident a lot of thought. As I’ve wrestled with strong feelings about both sides of the story as it was initially presented in the media, I realized what it comes down to, for me. This is a story about the depth of our willingness to forgive each other and then pursue reconciliation.

And smack-dab In the middle of this whole news story, I find myself faced with the opportunity to, as a fellow writer I deeply admire recently wrote, “stay at the table”. As I read this article by Deidre, over at the Washington Post, I was reminded that we are invited to spread the Good News that Jesus came to restore.

By living that way.

By speaking that way.

And every single time we choose to love, by not engaging in an argument over who is on the right side of fence, and why, Love wins. Each time we lock eyes with the human on the other side of the table and stay in it, determined to find where our humanity intersects with theirs, Love wins.

Call me an optimist, but, I want Love to win.

Ultimately, of course, it does.

But, I’d like to see it win a few times here on this side of Glory, too.

On this side of the fence.

So, with each new conversation about who was where they shouldn’t have been, and when, or who should teach respect and who should learn it, I choose Love.

I choose to remember how many times I made choices that were so very wrong. Yet someone, somewhere, showed me kindness anyway. I choose to recall the times I should have been in control, but wasn’t, and was given grace.

And still are.

I choose to remember that it doesn’t have to be a “they’re wrong” or “we’re right” kind of discussion. It could be, it should be a discussion about how we can love one another better. It can be another golden opportunity to show wonderful kindness, much like we have been shown.

Not a dismissal of sin.

Not an ignorance of peril.

Not a diss of this or that or them.

But Love. And grace.

Like we first understood it, the first time grace was poured out over us and our own mess.

I might not understand the daily perils of being part of this group or that organization, but I surely do know that God’s grace is one wonderful kindness. I’ve experienced it a time or a thousand.

Have you?

One_Wonderful_Kindness_Missindeedy

Oh God…let me pass on your wonderful kindness to another.

Help us all to pass it on, one to another.

Yes indeedy.

Thirteen Times, and Then Some

If, as the famous movie line goes, “Love is never having to say you’re sorry,” then I might be in big trouble with the ones I supposedly love. I get the wording all wrong far more often than I get it right.  My intentions may well be good, but my heart truly is deceitful above all else.

Even when I will it not to be.

Especially when I will it not to be.

And, I can’t tell you how often I wrestle with the knowledge that, while I am indeed saved by grace, I am also a sinner. Still. And always. Walking in the grace of The God Who Forgives doesn’t mean that I never sin again (which is painfully obvious to those whom I love). But, it certainly does make me more aware of when sin is crouching at my door.

It’s a push-pull that is ever-present within me. That knowing of how base I really am, bumping up against the desire to be good… it can throw all of my best intentions out the window with All The Trying.

And then, I remember that base describes Someone else. As in, my Foundation. My Rock. My Standard.

My Jesus.

He is the opposite of those things that I can most easily identify in myself. He is honorable. Right. High. And, Good.

And I’m thankful that He shines Light into my dark.

John Bradford spoke my heart with these words, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

Oh, indeed!

The man who uttered those words knew of his brokenness, as do I. And because I’m broken, there are days when I lay waste to the mission field within these four walls. How? By doing or saying something that requires an apology, on my part. This week alone, I’m sure I’ve said “I’m sorry” thirteen times, and then some!

However, My People throw out grace like confetti.

Because, they know that love is always willing to say “I’m sorry.”

Love_Is_Saying_Sorry_Missindeedy

31days_of_grace_button_missindeedy

This post is day 13 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

 *Also, this is WAY late. After wondering why my post didn’t come out at 8:30 this morning, like I scheduled it to, I realized that I set it for P.M. Oh Mama…*

A Year of Jubilee

So, this weekend, this happened:

wine_barrel_chair_missindeedy

It’s been Seven. Long. Years.  84 months of storage unit payments. 2,556 days of Forgotten Things.

We’ve avoided emptying that thing out for so many bad reasons and not a single good one.

But as we finally walked load after load of things out to the van, things that had no place in our lives for that seven years, something occurred to me: I began to see this emptying out as the year of Jubilee for all that stuff that has been languishing there for those many long days, turned months, turned years.

Just like all of those old textbooks and sorority pictures and wedding cards and end tables and chairs, I wondered if some of the sin that I tuck away and blatantly ignore would ever get a year of jubilee?

For there is sin that I carry around, locked away in a secret chamber of my heart.  It is Chosen Forgotten Sin that I have no desire to visit. It depresses my spirit and drains away hope.

But for Grace.

Who came.

And as I unloaded each box of forgotten books, or neglected piece of furniture, I realized that each one was making its first step into forever.

Some of these things would clearly need to be trashed.

Just like my sins would need to be, too.

Flung as far as the east is from the west, actually.

I couldn’t hang on to them for long years, pretending that they weren’t really there. I couldn’t allow those sins to continue to take up precious space.

Maybe the lesson hit me the hardest when I realized that things I once cherished, were not only neglected, but outright forgotten.

Much like my faith, at times, in the God who delivers grace.

I had forgotten.

Oh, how I had.

He doesn’t leave me to languish.  My heart is not exempt from His searching.

Only mine.

So, I decided to declare A Year of Jubilee for my sins.  I was going to release them to the east and west and claim Grace in their place.

But God beat me to it.

He was already there, waiting. And as I realized this, the celebrating began!

Because, as I wheeled that dolly down the hallway with a into a grace-filled forever, it was with a lighter heart.

Yes indeed.

“You see, God takes all our crimes—our seemingly inexhaustible sins—and removes them.
As far as east is from the west, He removes them from us.”

Psalm 103:12 (The Voice)