I will be very honest. I have started, stopped, and re-written this post so many times, I almost completely scratched it. Why? Woof. Because “grace” is everything I model my life after, and it could never possibly be described in one little blog post. But my hope is that this post can reach you in even a small, special way. It may be a term that gets used heavily in faith-based conversations, but “grace” in my book is a universal term, and the basis of how so many people love and hope to BE loved.
If you search the dictionary for “grace,” it uses this term “unmerited.” So naturally, as the nerd I sometimes hide along with my titles of band geek and mathlete (seriously), I wanted to know exactly how that term was defined. And this is what I found: “not adequately earned or deserved.” Wow.
Why does this hit so hard? Is it because I am all too aware of how imperfect I am? That I know too well that I spent most of my teen years being very self-centered and unaware of any joy or pain people in my life experienced in those years? That I still struggle with being jealous or judgmental, or worse, sometimes both at the same time? Sure, there are a lot of things I’ve improved on, and I know deep down that my heart and intentions are good. But I know I still screw up. So not only do I struggle with giving myself “grace,” but then you’re faced with giving others grace…are you ready for it?…even when they’ve done wrong. Even when you may believe that they do not deserve it.
You don’t even have to say it. I KNOW what you are thinking, and I am two steps ahead of you. How? Because nothing is black and white, right? Or so I used to believe. If have been following this blog, you know by now that I was in an abusive relationship from ages 15-17. And in that relationship, if I had just continued to give him “grace” and ignored/minimized how much pain he was inflicting, there’s a very heart-wrenching chance I could still be with him. But hear me out, this is the part where my faith HAD to step in. Through my human eyes, I can struggle with deciding what is “forgivable.” In short, I knew that our relationship was not serving any good to God, others or ourselves. That is why it had to end. But I could forgive him, and I truly have.
But this is where the “black and white” part comes back in. I believe that NO ONE is too far gone for their creator’s love, forgiveness and grace. I absolutely believe that even the most “far gone” people can have their hearts and lives transformed through grace – if they choose to let it in.
I digress. What about the people closest to us? Our parents, our siblings, our spouses, or kids? They will make mistakes. They are imperfect, too! Join the club 🙂 But here is your fork in the road, where you can go one of two ways: you can CHOOSE to give them grace, love and forgiveness (regardless of whether or not you think they deserve it), or you can choose the far easier route. You can hold grudges, you can judge, you can gossip or complain about them to others, you can start to believe that you are better than them, or that your own wrongdoings don’t hold a candle to theirs, you can give them the silent treatment..the list can go on.
–Insert a Mother Teresa quote…because it’s MT for goodness’ sake! ~“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” …you have no. time. to love them.
All of that time my husband and I spent being upset with each other because we had never been so “off” with each other’s love languages all week…we COULD have spent loving each other, having a fun date night or tickling each other until we were both laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. All of that time I spent judging my patient who made such poor life choices…I COULD have spent showing that person kindness, love and serving them with a humble heart. And all of that time I spent feeling guilt and shame about my past mistakes…I COULD have spent forgiving myself and being intentional about the way I love others today, and moving forward.
Grace is unmerited love. The most powerful expression of love that exists in this world. If you can give this to yourself, and then to others, we have the power to change how the world defines love. Let this be our daily battle. When you are tempted to judge, hold grudges, feel shame, or drown in guilt…let us see ourselves through the lens of love, of forgiveness, and of grace.
Have a beautiful Sunday and a Happy Mother’s Day. If this day is one of sadness for you, please know that you are seen, and you are loved <3
XoXo Lindsey Sholtis