Grace seems like such an easy concept when we don't have to actually apply it to our lives.... Am I right?
But in reality, grace is really difficult.
Whether we have a hard time receiving grace because we either feel that we’re too undeserving to have the amazing favor of God, and we have too much pride....
Or we have a hard time giving grace because the hurt we experienced is just too deep.
Either way, the topic of grace is messy and there's a lot to unpack with it.
I've preached about grace for as long as I could remember- but the moment one of my closest girlfriends stabbed me in the back - It was like everything I had ever learned about grace got thrown out the window.
You can read about losing that specific friend over on this blog post- but long story short, she befriended me for a year, used me for my social media secrets and tips (which I gladly gave to her because I wanted her to be successful!!!!), then she began her own marketing company and became my competitor... like, first of all, who does that? Second of all, ouch.
Even just talking about it now makes me want to grind my teeth and roll my eyes. But God has been teaching me something profound-
It's actually already a quote by Lysa Terkeurst, and it's just been popping up in my brain non stop...
"It's easier to give grace when I remember how much I need grace."
I was so far off when God saved me. And even when He saved me, I made some pretty crummy mistakes with people who had been my friends. It took me years to confront my wrongs and actually make amends with the people that I let down... and I already was a believer!
We are all growing. We are all continually falling short. We are all in need of Christ. And sometimes, we don't become aware of our sins until much later.
That girl has never said sorry- and even if she never does, I'm vowing to remember a few things...
1. Loving one another in a command in Scripture:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
God is going to know that I'm His disciple by loving others. It would be easy to love the people that already love me- but the people that have done me wrong? That's something supernatural. That really proves that I'm His child.
Every time thoughts come into my head about exposing this girl or trying to make her pay what she has done, I just close my eyes, surrender it to God, and take up my cross. Just like with any other struggle. It's a command, and as a Christian, I must obey.
2. I have to fully rely on the Holy Spirit
"The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God." Romans 8:11-14
When I feed my flesh rather than my spirit, I can get really bitter and think awful thoughts. I can still be such a sinner! But the answer to my wrestling is found right in the Word...
We are to be dependent on the Spirit for everything relating to our life and walk in Christ. He gives the Spirit to give us life and to secure, seal, sanctify, and assure us. It is by the Spirit that we live, walk, worship, pray, serve, and suffer. The Spirit opens eyes, strengthens hearts, enables holiness, and fills us with the fullness of God.
I have to check myself literally daily: Am I consciously depending on the Spirit? Do I long for more of His manifest presence and fullness? If not, I must ask, seek, and knock.
3. It takes just one person to give grace, but two people to reconcile. It doesn't mean you have to have a relationship with them again!
"If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet." Matthew 10:14
Forgiveness and grace is one thing. Reconciliation and actually building trust with that person again is a whole other animal.
As long as you do your part, you are in the clear! I am working daily on actually forgiving her and showing her grace- but I won't try to force us to have a relationship ever again.
Reconciliation might not be possible because you can cancel the debt against someone (forgive them) but YOU CANNOT FORCE THEM TO RECONCILE WITH YOU. You can't force people to heal or confront their toxic ways.
At the end of the day, I give grace because I don't want anything in the way of God and I. She absolutely doesn't deserve it, but I know for a fact that I don't deserve God's grace either. And when I think about how many times I messed up, and how He hung there willingly on a cross for me, it doesn't seem as hard anymore.