In my years of reading Christian fiction, God has spoken to me numerous times through what I have read. I have been encouraged, convicted, moved to change, and more. That happened this evening as I was reading a book that I got to review. During an emotional scene between the two main characters, the woman said to the man "Peter, would you consider one thing? Would you consider what your life might be like if you gave yourself some grace?"
We hear a lot about grace: God's grace towards us, showing grace to those we come across, showing grace to those who wrong us, showing grace to those who criticize who we voted for...... (ha ha!). But this idea of showing grace to the guy in the mirror is a new idea to me, and not something I have ever thought about.
Do I show grace to the guy who frustrates me most.... that would be me, believe it or not. I know people get angry and frustrated with me for a variety of reasons..... but no matter how many people I tick off, no matter how badly people think of me for the variety of reasons that are out there.... no one gets more angry or frustrated with me than me. Don't believe me? Well then you must have voted for Trump and are struggling to forgive me for daring to speak my mind about him. God can help you with that........ ;-)
But seriously, there are things I did years ago, things I said, dumb stuff that I have never let go of. Too often, I find myself despising the man in the mirror. Is it any wonder I have a hard time thinking people will like me and look past my many flaws, when I can't look past them myself nor forgive myself?
Show grace to myself....that is a foreign idea to me. How does one even begin to do that? Peter, the guy in the book, managed it, but he is a fictional character and the author controlled that. How does a living, breathing, real person show grace to himself?
I get showing grace to others, and hoping they show grace to me, but me showing grace to.... me? Uh, how?
For years, I struggled to believe God had forgiven me. I still struggle with that to some extent. And this may be part of the reason. I have become so good at holding everything I do and say against me, that I expect God to do the same. Yet the Bible promises if we confess our sins, He forgives us....whether we forgive ourselves or not.
I don't believe the Bible speaks of forgiving myself, or of showing grace to me, but we are called to be like Jesus, and if He so easily and quickly shows us forgiveness and grace, then should we not follow His example and forgive and show grace as quickly and easily to the man in the mirror?
It won't happen overnight. Old habits are hard to break, especially when it is holding a grudge against yourself. And man, am I good at holding a grudge against myself. The list of sins, flaws, stupid things I've done, stupid things I have said...... they play like a movie in my mind at times, going back further than I'd like to remember.
January 1st is long gone. We are almost 3 weeks past that time when New Year's resolutions are made, but it is never too late to turn over a new leaf, to break an old habit.... to start showing grace to the person I am around 24/7.....me.