You know what’s beautiful? When you love someone for who they are, not for who you would like them to be, and certainly not for what they do for you. It’s a beautiful feeling to extend and accept grace. To look at that person who has treated you miserably and experience that moment where you almost physically exhale, and you let it go. You pause where you stand with that measuring tape, mesmerized by yellow and black marking the inches and millimeters, and you finally set it down. And when you set it down your arms finally stop aching and you want to cry from relief.
I was listening to a woman share a story on the radio. Growing up she had a terrible father who treated her and her siblings ill, and her mother deplorably. But something her mother said once when she was in her twenties stuck in her heart- “Oh honey. If he knew Jesus, he wouldn’t be that way.” And as she continued her story, the woman said her mother, “loved him into the Kingdom of God.” When her father grew irate, demanding his notebook as he usually did one evening, she answered him in gentleness, “I know right where it is, just a moment.” She quickly fetched it, and handed it to him, saying, “here it is.” And Her father stood still for a moment, captivated by a spirit of grace instead of confronting an attitude of retaliation and anger.
And as I was driving home from my brother’s house, listening to this woman, I felt peace. I know what it’s like to wearily hold onto my measuring tape, and then have Christ, that King of Glory, roll away the door to his tomb and stand before me, allowing me to trace the marks left on his work-worn hands. Not that he cured an unbelief, but to prove that I had been forgiven. And that was His pursuit.
To search for mercy and grace. You guys, you have to understand this. Why is gentleness so startling? How does grace contain the power to check anger and subdue envy, strife, and bitterness? I wonder sometimes how it could all be true. This God thing. That Jesus guy. It seems to fantastical and absurd.
But then I am shown mercy, and something within me softens and is compelled, and I know. Just like the clay remembers who molded and shaped it, I know. It’s like recognizing your own handwriting, and then knowing the One who taught you to write at all. It’s incredible. The human soul is incredible the same way a fine work of art is incredible – not because of the color of the paints or the quality of the canvas, but how the artist rendered them. On their own they are nothing.
Hmmm. . . grace is His paintbrush.