Lately, I’ve been having some conversations with friends and family about, well… friends and family. If you’ve read my previous posts about my prodigal, you’ll understand that he weighs heavy on my heart.
Despite giving the situation to God, it feels as if someone’s left a boot print on my heart and my heart is just a little worn for the wear.
In prayer after prayer after prayer and conversation after conversation with God about how I should handle the situation, the word I keep getting from God is “just love him, like I love you.”
While I can never hope to love my son with even an iota of the depth and breadth of love that God has for me – and him, and you – I’m learning that love more often looks like grace than anything else.
For some reason, I never recognized it before, even though I’ve practiced extending grace every day.
Slow drivers in front of you that, once you pass, speed up and pass you while shooting you an unpleasant glance?
The man who cuts the line in front of you at Home Depot and you’re in a hurry because you’ve got to meet someone in the next 20 minutes?
The husband who leaves dirty dishes on the table or the wife who doesn’t fill the car up with gas?
The doctor’s office that asks you to show up 20 minutes prior to your appointment then lets you sit in the waiting room 45 minutes past your scheduled time?
The toddler that uses lipstick to write all over your newly painted bathroom walls?
The child that takes and takes and takes without giving?
Someone your child respects that speaks ill of you to them?
The co-worker that continually rubs you the wrong way?
Really, the list could go on and on. Most of us, I suspect, harbor a long list of all the ways we’ve been wronged. And even if we turn the other cheek 70 times 7 million times, the offenses against us are likely more numerous than the times we’ve truly – wholeheartedly – given grace in return instead.
Because dispensing grace is hard.
Receiving grace is often even more difficult.
Grace is just… hard. Really, really hard.
Who hasn’t felt on occasion as if it wasn’t just your cheek that was turned 70 times 7, but was full-on hammered into your jaw? Having deep, respectful, unselfish loving relationships with people – especially the people we love the most – is HARD.
Being hurt again and again by the very ones whom you would give your life for is… hard.
Forgiving them “for they know not what they do“? (Luke 23:34)
Because really, we’ve ALL been the one for whom someone had to extend grace, and it was hard for them to extend it. Some of the ones we’ve struggled with granting grace toward have had the same struggles imparting it to us.
But you keep doing it, time and again, because that’s love.
Because God forgave us and forgave us and forgave us forward into eternity because that’s love.
And that’s why, on days like today, when my jaw’s been hammered, I’ll choose grace.
I’ll choose love.
“Children will run from law, and they’ll run from grace. The ones who run from law never come back. But the ones who run from grace always come back. Grace draws its own back home.”
Tullian Tchividjian One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World