Read a thought-provoking article on Grace, today. Here’s a paragraph that particularly struck me (emphasis mine):

The first tragedy is that many of us are deathly afraid of being known as desperate recipients of God’s grace and love.  We wake up each morning praying that there won’t be a headline on the news trumpeting to the world that we’ve failed to live up to God’s standards, that we’ve made a complete mess of something.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love telling others whose dark secrets have been laid bare that God’s grace is theirs for the asking.  I just don’t want to be that person. I don’t ever want anyone to have to think, “Wow, if it wasn’t for God’s unconditional love, Ken would never be allowed to be a pastor.  He clearly doesn’t deserve to be one.”  If you’re like me, then you are desperate never to look that desperate. So we don’t confess our secret sins to anyone and certainly never in Christian contexts.  And we find ourselves endlessly confessing to Jesus those same sins, never believing that he’s forgiven us because we haven’t forgiven ourselves.  And we’ve never experienced the lack of judgment from fellow confessed sinners.  What a tragedy to preach the Cross, to sing about God’s amazing grace, and yet to be so offended by it that we try to live like we don’t need it.

Grace Actually, Ken Fong

I totally resonate with this passage! How true that I would never want to be the person who needs grace. I am reminded of a story in the New Testament (Luke 7:40-50 NASB) about a woman at a party who bathes Jesus’s feet in tears and an extremely expensive perfume. The host of the party is scandalized because this woman is a “sinner.” Jesus tells the host, “You didn’t welcome me with a kiss, nor gave me water to wash the dust off my feet. This woman has not ceased kissing nor anointing my feet with her tears and perfume.” Finally, Jesus says that this woman loves a lot because she has been forgiven a lot. And that those who aren’t forgiven much love very little.

I used to get annoyed with this passage thinking that it gave license to sin a lot. After all, how can you be forgiven much unless you sin much? But then, after a Bible study on this passage, I realized that this passage was more on grace. That this woman was very clear on her need for grace and forgiveness, and because she realized just how much Jesus forgave of her, she was so very grateful. And as a result, she felt very loved.

One of the applications from that study, I recall, was that if we didn’t feel very loved by God, it might be because we weren’t all that cognizant of our need for forgiveness. That the more we were aware of how much we needed forgiving, the more we would ask for it. (So the application was to confess our sins if we didn’t feel very loved – because then we’d be “loved much.”)

Another take-away I got from this study was that I am a very graceless person. And the reason I give so little grace is because I perceive myself to be needing very little grace. In other words, I think I’m perfect and never fall short so I never cut anyone else any slack.

How true it is! (Not that I am perfect and never mess up royally – although, come to think of it, that does sound about right… no?) I know that whenever I’m really aware of my screw ups, I am usually much nicer about it to other people (especially if they mess up in the same way). But, when someone makes a mistake on something that I perceive to be incredibly obvious or easy, I’m a complete ass. I’m the mean person who rubs your face in the mistake. Just ask DH or my mom. I have that incredible ability to make any normal, intelligent human feel about as awesome as a piece of lint. I am that good.

Which brings me back to the passage I opened up the post with. How true it is that I am so desperate to look undesperate! I always want to look put together! Even in my self-deprecation, it’s to hone an image of humility! (Ah, the tangled webs we weave of self-deception!) But the reality is, I am a mean and petty person if left to my own graceless devices.

Here’s the immense irony: I crave so desperately to be genuine and real. To know that I am loved for who I am. However, how can people love me for who I am (warts and all) if I always project an image of togetherness? This is why marriage and family can be so good (and hard). There is simply no way for me to keep that act up for super long periods of time! Inevitably, I will revert to my assish ways! (And yet, my mother and DH continually forgive me and love me. Fools!)

This is why I love shows like Celebrity Rehab. People being real, fucked up people. I love it because minus the drug addiction, I’d like to be a real woman someday.

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