Grace is my middle name. Literally. But… that doesn’t mean that I’m that good at showing grace to others. More often, I’m receiving it. Of course, I’m not very good at that either. I’d much rather show grace to others than be forced to swallow my pride and be on the receiving end of things. Which sounds confusingly contradictory, I know.
But today I want to share with you all a lesson that God has taught me over and over again, and that He continues to teach me. What’s the lesson? It’s about accepting grace from others—even when I don’t deserve it.
Grace was a lot easier for me when I was a ‘good Christian girl’ whose life was ideal. Grace was a lot easier when it was me giving it to other people. When it came time for my turn, grace got harder.
Over two years ago I got sick with multiple chronic illnesses. Slowly things got taken away from me… my ability to practically serve people in the ways I could before, my ability to be apart of my family in the way I was before, and more.
And more than not being able to love on those around me and show them grace, I suddenly was in need of way more than my ‘earned’ share of grace from God, my family, and everyone around me.
It was humiliating. And I felt guilty. I felt guilty that I had to stay home from the family hikes and adventures. I felt guilty that I was no longer able to physically do my chores, and that my family had to do them for me. I felt guilty that I was no longer the dependable, reliable daughter, sister, and friend I could have been before. I used to be confident in myself… but now God is teaching me to be confident in Him and in His grace for me.
There’s a problem with all of that guilt… it wasn’t healthy, and it wasn’t right. It wasn’t the God-given type of conviction that leads to repentance. This guilt was false. It was harmful. It got in the way of my relationship with others and with God. Just as much a reminder to myself as to you, listen to this: don’t get trapped by guilt that comes from things that you are not responsible for. Don’t get trapped by guilt when you haven’t done anything wrong.
Trust in God’s grace. Trust in the cross. Even if you have done things wrong, don’t get sucked into the guilt trap if you have already been forgiven. Trust that God’s grace is sufficient for you!
Let us swallow our pride, humble ourselves, and learn to graciously accept both God’s grace and mercy and other people’s grace and mercy—without guilt. In addition to that, I have something even harder for you: let’s learn to show God’s grace and mercy to ourselves. This is important not to overlook. Showing grace to ourselves is just as necessary as showing it to other people.
Will we trust that His grace is sufficient for us? Will we trust in the cross?
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
Sara Willoughby is a 16-year-old girl who loves to write and have adventures. She is a TCK, a Lymie, and a B.R.I.G.H.T. Lights leader. She writes for Romans535Blog, FoundWhoIAm, and Th!nk Magazine.