2015 LOVE series: In spite of my best efforts, and our failures…

 

This week, the week of Valentines, we’re diving into LOVE.  LOVE encompasses so much… today we focus on giving grace out of love.

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Have you ever messed up things so royally that you just wanted to run and hide and pretend like it was a bad dream?  In that moment, when you recognize the stupidity error of your ways, how do you feel?  Shamed?  Embarrassed?  Rejected?  Foolish?  Worse?

Maybe you’ve made a statement about (or even towards) someone, or a group of people, or a way of thinking, an ideal… so unbelievably harsh and judgmental … and later you realize what a fool it made you.   Maybe you stated your beliefs, out of ignorance or just not caring how it affected others, and later regretted the effects your words or thoughts or judgments had on others.

Now think about the moment that grace was extended to you DESPITE your reaction, your words, your judgment.  Contemplate the mercy given in that moment … and you exhale a sigh of relief, or intellectually gasp (out of disbelief) that grace has been extended to you IN SPITE of you.

May I encourage you to do your best to wrap your head and your heart around the amount of grace that has just been offered up.  Whether that grace comes from a spouse or loved one, a co-worker, a leader in your life, or our Heavenly Father… we feel we don’t deserve it.  Sometimes the shame lingers just long enough to show us the light … and sometimes we “beat ourselves up” over the fact that we certainly didn’t deserve that grace.

What have we learned in that moment?  We have learned what true love looks like.  No strings attached.  No obligation.  No IOU.

Because of his kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take any credit for it.  Ephesians 2:8-9

In that moment that we grasp the meaning, the feeling, the effects of grace we are truly grasping LOVE.

May I suggest that it isn’t until we have truly received that gift of grace… for all that it means… that we can truly and fully embrace the importance (and freeing relief) of extending grace to others.

So where do we start?  We start with ourselves.  May I recommend giving yourself some more grace…

Today’s challenge is to spend some time here:  self-compassion.org

Dr. Kristin Neff is an Associate Professor in Human Development and Culture, Educational Psychology Department, University of Texas at Austin.

 

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