Thursday, April 3, 2014

Why Grace Works for Me by Hayley Solich


Over the past eighteen months I have been sitting under the ministry of Ps John Latta, who moved to our church from Tambourine Mountain.  John shifted my thinking about God, life and everything really when he started to share his concept of God and grace.  It changed the way I viewed myself and the way I viewed others.  When you look through the lens of grace and unconditional love, so many small things that previously were beacons of offense become way less obvious because instead of looking at actions you look at motivation and instead of looking at behaviour you look at the real person.  And you recognise that your words have power to create life or death, so you can choose to use them more wisely, more compassionately.

Coupled with John's ministry I have also gone through several of the Carefore LifeKeys training programs and once again received the bombshell of grace and unconditional love impacting my life. And also the impartation of skills for living life walking in unconditional love by better communicating and using words to build up rather than tear down.

In the Search for Life course, Alan Meyers' re-telling of the prodigal son's story was absolutely lifechanging to me.  The story of a father who saw his errant son afar off and against all of the rules of the time lifted up his skirts and ran to him.  He didn't wait for him to apologise, to grovel, to beg forgiveness.  No, this father ran to him.  He covered his shame.  He restored his dignity.  He restored his position in the father's household and his father wanted to celebrate with anyone and everyone who was willing to come.  He was willing to kill the fattened calf which was reserved for very specific celebrations, in honour of a son who had returned.  His words and actions changed his son's future.

As I listened to that story I recognised that God is like that with all of us.  He is not sitting in some distant place with a hammer ready to strike us when we err and we all err.  Regardless of how righteous we think we are, when we look at another with judgment in our heart we have erred, because we are told to 'judge not'.  We are not to be like the older brother, viewing the behaviour of others and making judgments about it based on how good we think we are.  He totally missed the point.

Today, as you go about your business I wanted to encourage you to see life through the lens of grace and unconditional love.

At times I feel trampled by people or life's circumstances and I want to pull out my claws and claw my way back but grace is wanting to teach me a better way, to teach us all a better way.  Grace is wanting me to not react, but to really assess why others have behaved the way they have because it is always a story about them that has led them to that behaviour.  Sometimes our presence is just a catalyst for another's healing.

My exhortation today is to look around you and when you see someone 'lying in their blood' -  Exekiel 16:6 - the image of the rejected person, even the image of the prodigal son - looking to all the world like the yukkiest or most unwise person on the planet, and probably behaving like one, challenge yourself to view them through the eyes of the Father.  The eyes of unconditional love.  For He says to all of us, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love and I have chosen you before the foundations of the earth."  They are not the words of a judgmental, vengeful God.  They are the words of a loving father.

And when you look at yourself, be kinder to yourself.  I truly believe that if we see God through the lens of the new testament, which is a new convenant, where our salvation is not dependent upon our works, then we can move from doing to being, from judging ourselves and others to loving ourselves and others and allowing God's abundant love to inhabit every aspect of our lives.  Then our works will have eternal value for all.

11 comments:

  1. So glad you are walking that grace journey right now, Hayley. For me, it impacts not only what I write but how I write--all the time. And it certainly impacts what I speak about. God bless!

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    1. Yes, it does, Jo-Anne. We can beat ourselves and others up simply because we are ignorant about the overwhelmingly wonderful power of grace in action. :)

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  2. So glad you are walking that grace journey right now, Hayley. For me, it impacts not only what I write but how I write--all the time. And it certainly impacts what I speak about. God bless!

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  3. Thanks Hayley. I needed that today. Thanks for reminding us to look at others through the lens of grace. I've recently been treated very badly by my Christian leaders and it has been hard for me to understand their actions. But I will try the more excellent way - the lenses of grace and love which should be the basis of all we think and are and do as Christians. So many thanks for the reminder. It's wonderful to hear of your own experiences and how God has been exploding your life with grace. May He continue to do that in all our lives. Bless you.

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    1. Thanks, Anusha. :) I think if we remember that people are just that, people. With flaws and weaknesses but deeply loved by God, it helps us to apply the same measure of love to every situation. You are a blessing. Thanks for your encouragement.

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  4. Thanks for this beautiful post. I too am striving to see others through the eyes of grace and to treat them as God treats me. For me it sometimes means delaying an immediate reaction to some offense, taking a few deep breaths, and allowing God's grace to fill me.

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    1. Yes, I agree. Delay, delay, delay...things always look different if we allow the emotions to settle first. :)

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  5. Hi Hayley - Thanks for that challenge. It's not always an easy walk, but as Anusha said, it's the more excellent way. Imagine what an impact we could have for God's kingdom if all of our writing was seasoned with grace and unconditional love! Good on you for seeking to walk in that. God Bless.

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    1. Thanks, Nola for the feedback. Yes! It is a challenge, but there is something wonderful about just relaxing into the knowledge of God's wonderful love. I think it is actually easier than holding offence.

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  6. Thanks Hayley for that lovely post and reminder of Gods amazing grace. And that child's face!!! Maybe we Should realise inside everyone of us is a child that can be hurt by mean words, cutting words, and thoughtless words. Only God's grace can save us from reacting in a similar way.

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    1. Yes, I agree, Rita. The more we embrace His love the more able we are to share it. :)

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