Lately, I’ve seen my sin a lot. I’ve seen it when I am quick with my dog when he is being stubborn and disobedient, parenting in frustration. I’ve seen it a TON with my beloved husband, who loves and serves me endlessly, when he makes one choice I don’t like. I get angry and hurt and make sure he knows it. I’ve seen it when I just need to get my point across, shutting him down in the process. I see it when I am slow to serve and quick to criticize him.
I see it when I don’t get recognition for something I feel I’ve done well, and my heart begins to hum the tunes of bitterness. I see it when I claw at feelings of entitlement. I see it when I ignore others and isolate myself. I see my sin, and I see it often.
What I find interesting is that knowing that this is the life of any believer, why I seem to validate my hurt or claims for attention instead of allowing grace to sing over it all. Why am I so so slow to recognize God’s love and endearment and provision when one small word has caused my heart to crumble?
I think it’s because grace is not inherently loud. Grace does not shout for attention, but is quiet and gentle. Grace does not grab me by the shoulders, shake me and say, “DON’T YOU SEE HOW WRONG YOU ARE?” So then, grace is easy to ignore.
Grace is easy to ignore because when we are heated and angry and sad and misunderstood, we demand a loud voice to rightly correct the other person involved. So we use our own. Sometimes it comes out in a cutting remark, sometimes in a truly loud audible yell. Sometimes it’s in a quiet conversation, but we know the purpose is more to hurt the other person than to understand them.
I think grace is this way because God is this way. When we screw up, God is gentle to grasp our shaking hand. God does not shake our shoulders, but handles us calmly when we are screaming. If Jesus was right when he said in John 10 that He was the good shepherd, then that means He will be patient.
He will be good to me. He will treat me with respect and love and dignity when He walks through life with me.
And if He is the shepherd, we must be the sheep of His flock. And how foolish for a sheep to yell at another sheep, not trusting His shepherd to handle whatever mess he’s in. And I say that is foolish because at this point, at this point where a sheep has been wronged by another, the first sheep would have already seen how the shepherd has provided before.
How the shepherd guides him to pasture with the rest of his flock. How when he has become lost and hungry, the shepherd searches for him and finds him. How when it is night, the shepherd protects him. How when a wolf enters the sheep fold, the shepherd does not flee. He runs toward the wolf and says, “You have to go through ME to get to them.”
And the sheep has seen this. And we have seen this. So why do I not trust Jesus, and exercise and live in grace, when He has already proven that He WILL take care of me?
Because I am foolish like a sheep, and I am needing God to remind me that He is faithful, and that grace is enough. Because Jesus has already said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10b).”
Abundant life is not found in my hurt or anger or seeking my own justice. It is found in Him, grace Himself. So drink, children. Drink in the grace Jesus brought with assurance of His care. For He cares for us. Delight in being a sheep, vulnerable yet protected by the Shepherd.