I’ve been wrestling lately with the idea of grace. More specifically, I’ve been wondering where justice fits inside of grace. Or does grace, perhaps, fit inside of justice?
My entire life, I have been taught the value of grace, and what it means, and where it comes from. Grace was shown to me by God in the form of Jesus on the cross, paying for my sins. Grace shows up in my daily life as I remember my baptism, the waters that drowned my old sinful self and birth a new creation in Christ. I get grace, I really do.
What I’ve been struggling with is the idea that grace is not just for me.
Of course, I’ve been able to find grace for other people in my life. When I’ve been wronged, I have looked beyond it - I have forgiven those who have trespassed against me, even as I am forgiven for my trespasses.
It’s not easy, not if its done fully and truly the way that God intended, but it is certainly practiced in Christianity.
However, this is not the grace for the other that I’m speaking of. What I want to know is how can I have grace for the people I good and truly hate.
I don’t want to write this. I’ve been avoiding writing this post for months now, because honestly I don’t really know what to say. I mean, I have a lot to say, but I feel like most of it has already been said and I don’t even know where to start.
Our country’s political scene is in shambles. But honestly, it’s a symptom of something greater. Something more sinister is brewing beneath politics, and we’re trying to put a band aid over a gushing wound instead of sewing it up and administering antibiotics. There is a massive divide between people of differing race, economic stature, and religion; a divide between nearly anyone that has differing opinions or lifestyles, or even just different ideas. For a country that is supposed to be a melting pot, a community open to all, a place where anyone can be free to say what they want and live how they want (barring the harm of others), we are doing a piss-poor job.
In a relationship, words can be power. They can build, they can destroy, they can control and they can free. But in a marvelous display of life’s contradictions, words can also be very weak. Much of the time, it matters less what the words are, and more about the tone, feeling, and intention behind the words. As a writer, it pains me to say this: sometimes words just don’t cut it. Take “I love you.” These three words have the power to sway hearts, profess devotion, and bond lives together. But they can also sound hollow, ringing empty on the battleground of a relationship littered with broken promises.
Some people say actions speak louder than words, but I believe that phrase is misleading because it separates words from action. It creates a dichotomy that actually doesn’t exist. You see, actions give words their power. Words mean very little without some form of follow-through. Words are like a seed, where actions are like the flower the seed will become; the promise of something more.
“I just haven’t found the time.”
Really? How is it that you've misplaced an abstract concept?
Oh, you mean there "aren't enough hours in the day," right?
Let’s be honest, we’ve all said something like this at least once. It slips off the tongue so easily. It seems like such an innocent comment, but have you ever really thought about what it means when we say it? What you’re really saying is that you are passive. That life happens to you, and not the other way around. In fact, I tend to use it all the time - it’s a great excuse that gets me out of actually accomplishing anything. That’s really why we're saying it, if we’re going to be honest with ourselves. It’s much harder to “find time” than it is to “make time” or “prioritize.”
You were going to write that story, but you just haven’t found the time to sit down.
You were going to do the dishes and pick up the house, but you haven’t had the time with your busy schedule.
You want to *insert your hobby here* more but you just don’t have enough time in the day.
You’ll help your friend move if you “manage to find some extra time” this weekend.
We expect time to be a gift. Something that we receive, through no activity on our part. And of course, it's a little true. You've done nothing to exist, you just happen to be existing. In this sense, time has been gifted to you. But you don't know how long that gift will last.
And if I'm honest, I've wasted the gift of time. I've "misplaced" it here (Netflix), "lost" it there (the Infinite Scroll™ of Twitter and Facebook), hoping to just come across a few extra minutes. Then, oh boy, could I accomplish some cool stuff. If I could just find some additional hours in my week, I would be unstoppable.
I've been spoon feeding my ego the same bullshit my entire life, excusing my inability to accomplish my goals by playing victim to Time.
There is something sinister roaming freely through the hearts of people. It appears like a fog, simple and light at first; but soon it has enveloped everything that was once seen clearly, and worn away at the trust of anything other than “the self.” What was once visible and known, what was once truth, is now shrouded in uncertainty. This feeling has managed to turn brother against sister and mother against son. It has created enemies of friends, and has withered relationships. And it has been doing it for a very long time.