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.