April 13, 2014

[a redeemed failure, I am]

There is this one thing. This one, enormously h-u-g-e problem I have. I can't for the life of me get rid of it. And trust me.. I've tried. It's sticky and bitter and has an AWFUL aftertaste. It upsets every facet of my life whether it be through friendships, relationships, religion, love, or goals.

Here it goes..

I'm a failure.

[Background Information:]
The other weekend I was talking with my friend about our lives in high school - about how young and naive we were compared to our college selves. We discussed how knowledgeable we felt in that present time but how off the rocker that thought, in fact, really was. We talked about our mistakes and how we thought we had learned from them.. until we began discussing our college lives and the mistakes we re-rehearsed.

[Fast Forward:]
Post college I still make most of those mistakes, no matter how hard I try to evade them. I am constantly relearning the lessons I 'learned' last week, last month.. last year. Hard of hearing? Maybe. No - definitely. Apparently [and unfortunately] my conscience isn't always as loud as my feelings.

a. I am never going to be omniscient or as full of knowledge of life as I would like to be, thus enabling me to make mistakes. Frequently.
b. While there is wisdom to be gained in life, I will most likely choose the wrong route [at times] even though I know it is wrong. I will do so knowingly & willfully.
c. I have a hard time ridding myself of these mistakes when depending on my own strength to do it.

And then grace steps in.

That illogical yet life changing five letter word - the word that only comes to meaning after failing. And failing hard

You begin to feel it releasing you from your heavy shackles after putting that significant other on a pedestal when they were never called to be there. After proclaiming to love a friend, yet neglecting to put her above yourself. After placing your self worth in your success at work.. as if this is an indicative measure. After trying to go a day without coveting something or someone. (Whatever it is, it's all the same.)

..and finding that you're f-o-r-g-i-v-e-n. Not because you deserve it, but solely because you don't deserve it.

And the good thing about grace.. is that it also sticks. We can't seem to get past it once we truly & intimately experience it. Rather than having an awful aftertaste, it is sweet like honey and filling like homemade bread. Rather than upsetting every facet of your life, it restores & redeems it all.

No longer are you bound to your mistakes. Not because you deserve it, but solely because you don't deserve it.

This is exactly who Jesus is. 

When one of the 12 disciples, Peter, who admittedly desired to follow Jesus with his whole heart denied being a follower of Jesus not one but a solid THREE times, Jesus wholeheartedly forgives him.

'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' (Luke 23:34)

Let me remind you - Peter is the same guy who told Jesus that he would never disown Him, even if that meant he had to die with Him (Matthew 26:35). After Jesus' mysterious act of forgiveness, Peter goes on to be an ambassador of the gospel to the Gentiles. When persecuted, he perseveres. When tempted, he holds his ground to he point of death.

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:18)

This is grace in action. 

This is exactly what you are being offered.

Of course, this is in no way to say that you are never going to mess up (hint: see above). Rather, this means that you are forgiven & redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ. We will never fully understand the mystery of grace, but if we're wise enough to see what is truly being offered, we will sprint with arms wide open to the only One who can cure us of our emptiness. Our mistakes. Our backsliding. Our selfishness. Our inherent flaws. Our incapacity to see God for who He truly is.

This, my friends, is grace.

[We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
--C.S. Lewis

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