There are times when our hearts need to remember the frail nature of this world we live in. It is dying, really. Though life abounds and there is still hope in the beginning of the year, sometimes the days are a little difficult to traverse. Though we are all subject to the physical laws that are inherent in our existence, we have been redeemed by a grace that is transcendent. 1 John 4:4 reminds us that greater is He who is in us, and the power of grace reaches beyond our hopeless moments.
This is why we resolve towards the new, right? We expect January to bring renewal with the resolutions, and revival with the goal-planning, declaring change.
And yet, there are certain things that do not change. There are pieces of the fabric we have been woven into that have the same sharp edges, no matter how many resolutions of revival and renewal we charter with ink’s tattoo upon parchment pressed flat.
Of course, God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 solidifies the remembering as we pass through this chapter resplendent with heroes of faith. We have to remember these things. We have to rehearse them, lest we forget Truth.
When wounds are close, we need to clothe ourselves in forgiveness.
As I was contemplating the newness of hope each turn of the calendar brings with it, I was reminded that there is a sword that cuts close to our hearts. This piercing weapon also makes deep slits of incision in the tapestry of who we are, not of our own inflicting but that of broken hearts surrounding us.
I don’t understand it; it makes no sense to me. This purpose-filled tearing apart of beauty for no other reason than to make ourselves feel better.
Do you know what I mean? Have you ever been on either side of this active destruction?
I am talking about the way we tear down walls and burn bridges of relationships. Once they break, they are nearly impossible to rebuild. And rather than choosing grace, we hold on to those injuries, cherishing the pain as if it is a right we own. And with that, we are playing the same game… keeping the cycle rotating forward.
When we take every effort to tear others down, we don’t actually realize we are unraveling every precious fiber of the beauty deep within ourselves. Allowing darkness to be the extension of our own inadequacies does more than just hurt those we are speaking against, those who hurt us deep, it destroys us… it ruins relationships… it misses grace… it deflates hope.
Visiting loveless altars of remembrance stop the healing love has the capability to pour out.
I have seen the hurt in others, I have felt it close myself. I have witnessed the effect of church people who are willing to cast aside one another because they think they are doing what is right. I have watched as Jesus followers have pulled out the sword and plunged it deep. I have listened when judgments are made with nothing but gossip as the fuel. And I wonder why we visit altars of comparison and lack, breaking precious bonds of unity in Christ?
Comparison, lack, loss.. they all describe a hurt that is keenly felt, because rather than focusing on who we are in Christ, we listen to the accusations declaring worth we were never given the privilege of defining. Then we all camp in the retelling,revisiting the words of hurt which steal life from our living. The lies cause us to be nearsighted, and we fail to recognize our worth we and others have in the eyes of the Heavenly Father. All too easily the offenses become tools of destruction that only deepen the wounds, making it impossible for healing to start.
When I justify my judgment because I am holding on to hurts, I am no better than the one who is actively wounding.
The reality is this: Harsh painful things escape sin soaked lips quickly because words are a cheap commodity and can be extracted with little effort. Words once said are hard to take back, they are like poison that cannot be purged from our system.
And friends, if I were humble enough to get myself out of the picture, the whole truth is that this attack of character was not necessarily against me, but against the very thing I represent. Often the attack is not about us, but the root is deep in the heart of the one who is hurting us.
If our perspective is changed, we can see the issue for what it truly is.
Even though hurting people hurt people, as followers of Christ we are called to turn the other cheek… to wear forgiveness as a garment of grace. This does not require us to keep going back into the ring for sparing practice. No, actually, we are called to step closer to the Lord, instead. Drawn to the prayer bench, meeting Truth in the Word we have an example waiting. Jesus gave us the tools to deal with this kind of enemy to our souls. He never leaves us without the power to overcome, friends.
In John 7, there was a feast and Jesus was in Galilee. He was being careful because so many were looking to do Him harm. Jesus was confronted here, not by the world…not by the masses…not by the leaders, but by His brothers. His family, friends, they told Him to depart.
I don’t think it was maliciously, I think they were telling Christ that His ministry was of no effect where they were, in their hometown around those who had witnessed his growing. And do you find that so in your own life? Do you find the walls go up when you are in the company of those who have known you long, who have lived life close with you?
That is why the barbs hurt so deep, because the piercing comes from the people we have invested in. Whether it is in the church, or in our family, or our sphere of influence… it is always those that are close which wound us the most.
Daily we find this garment we wear ripped and torn by the private jeering we endure. The outer covering we shield ourselves with is littered with the fine scraping of soon-to-be holes, unraveled by the hands of those who have sought the trailing threads which can leave us uncovered.
Yet, this is where beauty shines, because forgiveness is the renewing we begin when His Word is revived in our heart and we resolve to love in spite of the hurt.
Friends, we live in a culture of brokenness. Seeds of lack and hurt are spilled easily, even into hearts that have been cultivated by grace. If this is a true, then our response, our modus operandi, should be forgiveness fueled by love.
Forgiveness is one of those garments of grace we must choose to wear, friends. As we find ourselves bent low in our prayer closet, we need to dig deep in His Word for clothing that will shield our warrior hearts and lend grace, both for ourselves and for the One who willingly forgave us.
- When the world is reminding you of all you have failed to do correctly…Know they spoke it to the One who made them first.
The righteousness of God appears as faulty to those who are in the world. (2 Cor. 5:21, Rom 1:17)
- When the world seeks to put out your light…Know they tried to capture and diminish the True Light of Heaven.
The Light of the World exposes darkness. (Matt 5:14)
- When all you say is turned around to become accusing snares…Know that the Wisdom of Heaven was accused of being indwelled by deceit.
The Wisdom of Heaven does not make sense to the world. (James 3:7)
- When your pain is the goal of the wicked heart…Know that you are in the company of the High Priest who fills with love.
Love covers a multitude of sins, giving us freedom to forgive completely. (1 Peter 4:8, Proverbs 10:12)
- When you wonder if you have made the right decisions…Know even the word made flesh shared in our humanity.
Grace Exposes Hope and Love bleeds Red. ( 2 Thessalonians 2:16, Romans 5:2)
The next challenge we need to take together in this journey towards grace filled living, is to allow His light to shine on the hurts in our hearts and renew, heal, and restore our ability to love others well.
Step Two: Open up that raw bleeding spot and let his love clothe you today. Choose the garment of forgiveness… choose grace even when it doesn’t deserve to be given away. Keep in mind that we don’t deserve the grace we have been given, either.
The Question to consider and comment:
How have you reconciled a hard relationship by choosing to wear forgiveness as your garment?
I’d love to hear your answers to this question. Please share them in the comment section, below.
I am praying for the deep abiding of the Holy Spirit to be shed abroad in your hearts by love and that this awesome love would cover a multitude of sins, renewing you in the process and finally bringing the healing you have been waiting for.
Each post I share in this series on A Warrior Heart : Wearing a Garment of Grace will end with a question to answer and share in the comment section, and sometimes I will include a conversation that I have had with a friend.
If you’d like to join me in the conversation, send me a note at dawnboyer@journeysingrace. The week that I share our conversation, I will also share your blog/website and link you in to the post.
Linking up with soul searching hearts this week:
SDG Gathering, Make a Difference Monday, Playdates with God, Unite, #RaRalinkup, Front Porch Inspired, Inspire Me Monday, Coffee For Your Heart, #TellHisStory, Wednesday Prayer Girls, Three Word Wednesday, Thought Provoking Thursdays,livefreehthursday, Thoughtful Thursdays, Counting My Blessings, Fellowship Fridays, Missional Women, Fellowship Friday, Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop, Saturday Soiree , SITS Saturday Sharefest