Blessings: Grace; A Gift You Never Asked For

Do they not deserve Grace?

Grace is a hard concept. It’s hard because it’s not human. Every fiber of our being tells us to never let go of injustices done to us. Our society, the media, sometimes even our relationships reinforce that when we are hurt, we must hurt back.
I recently started work in a non-profit helping youth in undesirable situations become what they aspire to be. They’re at the lowest point in their life that they have ever been and is an extremely sensitive situation to work in. Every ounce of your being needs to be Grace focused. Every single person I work with has love in their eyes, hope on their tongues, and passion in their touch. It’s a blessing to be a part of this family and it’s forced me to rethink my life and the way that I deal with my decisions and others.

There’s a lot of pain that’s been going on in the lives of the people around me. It’s upsetting for me and being a justice-centered person, I want to see something done about it. The problem is there isn’t a single person going about things in the right way.

Being hurt completely blows, the pain is legitimate and needs to be addressed. But address it with Grace. Fighting pain with pain doesn’t solve anything. This is often the first thing I turn to and more often than not I regret anything I do under that mindset. I’m incredibly blessed to have a friend who is so Grace centered that she bleeds the stuff and is patient enough to teach me how to be full of Grace.

Something that’s often overlooked is a reaction to when people are hurt and they lash out. We believe it more acceptable to criticize and punish those who are reacting to hurt inappropriately than showing them Grace.

Do they not deserve Grace?

Grace isn’t about staying quiet and it’s not about speaking out. It’s the middle ground of listening and responding. There is not a single person on this planet who is good, so why do we expect people to be good? EVERY person does injustice to someone, you may not know it, see it, or understand it, but it is there. 

There’s plenty of people whom have hurt me and do not know that they have. I want so bad for them to feel the same pain they have caused me. But I can’t do that, it’s a means with no end. Pain only ends when you address it with love. Seek out those who’ve hurt you, discuss why you’re pained in a healthy, safe atmosphere and mindset, and hopefully they will understand and move towards reconciliation, but if not, that’s okay.

There’s a verse that I’ve been mulling over recently that the Founder and Finisher spoke in the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 18, verses 15 to 20: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (‬ESV)

These are hard verses for me to swallow. Christ doesn’t ask us to fight on his behalf. He doesn’t ask for justification from something that is subject to his Will and Sovereignty. He asks us to walk away. Find people who are like minded and do his work with those people. Organizations, churches, and coalitions fade, but Christ does not.

I’m in search myself. I don’t agree with a lot of people around me and I don’t believe in the same type of practices they do. I want to find a place that is Grace centered, where the Common Grace of every person, believer and non-believer alike, is exemplified, a place where I can be challenged and grown than feared, uprooted, and tossed aside.

I want to leave some lyrics from the band Being as an Ocean from their song Grace, Teach Us What We Lack for you to mull over. Every time I listen to this song it brings me to tears, not because of injustice in the world, but because of injustice I create, and then the lack of Grace I have for others and myself. This song speaks a better word than I ever could.

See conviction wells up inside, an imprint from above

Seeks to reject injustice and not to judge

Works to fix the things that are broken

Walks in humble regard to their fellow man

And never forgets that the greatest law is Love


Blessings: Patience in a Pit of Despair

These past few months have been pretty shitty. Ever since the last half of North Carolina, things have been looking down (except for my donation, that was rad). To go from ultra positive, close with the God you care for so dearly, loving the new situation you’re in to back to square one, jobless, and over a thousand dollars in debt.

It’s funny how life changes so quickly.

It’s funny how one minute you’re well off and the next you’re not.

It’s funny how quickly a devotion for Christ becomes disappointment.

I want to pose a question: Why is it that when life starts to suck, the first thing to go is the last thing that should?

It seems that Jesus is the first person I throw out of my life when it gets hard. If things aren’t chipper or dandy I don’t want anything to do with him.

Sometimes I feel as if I’m the only Christian who most days I don’t want to be. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who can’t cling to the cross.

Instead of clinging to the cross I was clutching at what little money I had left, hoping to find at least one meal for the day, feeling utterly useless and hollow. It’s difficult to want to be ambitious or motivated when your day-to-day consists of sleeping, trying to figure out ways to survive, and fear of losing everything you own.

I pretty much quit.

I remember sitting on my couch one night at 2 in the morning, unable to sleep from stress and hunger thinking, I used to have so much passion, where did it go?

Have you ever been so wrapped up in life that you give up on everything you ever cared about?

I have.

I started praying that Christ would give me opportunities to gain a passion again. To do something productive for his kingdom, for his Earth. I prayed and prayed, constantly searching. I filled out nearly 100 different applications just hoping to gain a foothold just strong enough to hold me till I could find the next one. It was stressful. It was agonizing. It was emasculating.

I broke pretty quickly.

Yet one day I get a call from my long time mentor and friend telling me I should apply at this non-profit that helps runaways and at-risk youth. I thought to myself, “That sounds like everything I’ve ever wanted.” I applied, got an interview, and was super stoked to be even given a chance to pursue my dreams. I felt good, I felt genuine, and by the grace of God I got that job.

I now get to help kids who have been through some of the same atrocities that I have. I get to let them know it gets better. I get to have a direct hand in giving them hope.

Looking back at all the times I failed, all the times I had given up, I realize just how quick I am to write God off. Then I also see how faithful Christ is even when I’m not. Glad he is.