It’s been said that we are our own worst enemies. Why is that? Why do we judge ourselves differently?
When I was younger, I was much more critical of others and less so of me, mainly because I thought I had it all figured out. Now that I’m a little older and don’t know near as much as I thought I did, I’m much more lenient towards others but much harsher on myself. Did age and experience do that? Is it based on a certain level of life’s successes and failures which create higher expectations?
A lot has been said about extending grace towards others but little is said about accepting grace for you, from yourself. The first step in that realization is grasping the subtle fact that we are indeed, only human (insert sarcasm font). Knowing that you are prone to fallibility helps to keep some rose in your glasses. After that, finding grace is as easy as realizing you are loved in spite of your goof-ups.
I truly believe that most of us walk around with the idea that when we screw up, we are not as loved as before we made a mistake. Or we truly believe that we would be more loved if we made fewer mistakes. Romans 5:8 makes me smile every time I read it: But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Fewer mistakes, no mistakes, whatever you think it takes, you were loved before you made them, after you made them and even in the middle of making them. Nothing I’ve ever done changes that fact and because of it, I am a new and changed person.
When you mess up, the enemy is right there to wave it in your face. Your mistakes are thrown at you in the form of shame as you are led to believe you aren’t good enough and your sin makes you unworthy of grace. It’s at that moment your own judgment takes over and you not only believe the lies that say you’re not good enough, but you compound the problem by burying your head in the sand, so to speak. Knowing who Jesus was and is and will always be is nice but unless you know who He is in your life, then He’s just another guy and grace will remain foreign. But after you let Him in, your life will never be the same.
You see, grace is God’s ability to counter our inability. Accepting grace for yourself means accepting that you are unable to save yourself, no matter how many good deeds you do, or merit badges you earn, or old ladies you walk across the street, or people you help out of a ditch, etc. But the heavy lifting for your salvation has already been done and once you accept what has been offered, you will realize that grace has covered you completely. That moment will change your life, and what follows will be your opportunity to give back, by sharing that grace with others.
Grace is a gift to you that you didn’t and couldn’t earn. Because it was so freely given, it is expected you will extend it to others who need it, as it is the single most important gift anyone could ever receive. You’re still going to make mistakes from time to time because, again, you’re only human. And yet, grace covers you completely once you accept it. The same goes for the people around you. They didn’t earn it, it was given to them freely and it covers them completely. And guess what? They’re going to make mistakes from time to time too (crazy as that sounds)!
What I’m trying to say is, stop withholding grace. It is a gift that was given to you SO THAT you could pass it on, not hoard it under your couch. Grace is not something that is in short supply so stop worrying about it running out, which also means, there is plenty to go around for you too. When you grasp that grace is FOR you and you personally your mind will be blown and you won’t be able to stop sharing it.