I represent a specific church, organization, & Jesus when I'm standing with a "Lovemodesto.com" sign. They insisted on a debate. And what I realized from this was that my problem with their angle is the lack of grace. Turning & becoming holy is Biblical, but only after and in the grace of Jesus. Without grace, there's nothing.
More to the theme....Something I've always struggled with is feeling that I'm such a screw-up that God can't possibly do as huge of things with me as I dream about, long for, and desire more than life itself. How is He gonna use ME for anything impactful? Something He's been showing me recently is that maybe I need to look at it differently. Maybe it's BECAUSE of the things I've been drastically redeemed from that I can be most impactful. Shawn said it well tonight when he said "God didn't look at Paul and say that he had it all right. He looked at him & said 'Look at how wrong he's got it. Now watch THIS.'" Wow. THAT is me. Issues more than you know. Years of multiple addictions while serving in ministry. Destructive social behaviors. Stealing. Lying. Controlling. Manipulating. And He reached down, pulled me out of every single pit and redeemed the bondage. Looking at me is looking at Living Proof of ultimate grace. It doesn't proof itself any more than that! And I was encouraged by that reminder tonight. Although, I was also painfully challenged. Shawn challenged us to not let that grace stop with us, but extend it somewhere it needs to be extended in our relationships. Something i think we all swallow hard to face. I don't mind working through things with Jesus. But when He draws me to do something like forgive that one person I've been nursing a grudge toward for almost a year, I just want to cover my ears and scream "I can't hear you!" like a 3 year old. I don't like this part. I want to stay angry with this person. Sometimes I think we are afraid if we extend & become a picture of His grace to others it will be like saying the hurt they caused is not that bad. Is not affecting us....
Maybe it DOES take some attention off what they did. Maybe it actually puts attention on how overwhelming & redeeming Jesu's grace is. Maybe even other Believers who've hurt us need to experience Jesu's grace in a way they only can through our forgiveness. Are we willing to set aside out whining rights to do that?
*Big sigh. *
This isn't easy. I have a person I need to forgive. I don't want to. Jesus, HELP!