trail of grace

Posted: March 2nd, 2010 | Filed under: life | 12 Comments »

The only person who would hold a person down when they fell is the one who had something to gain from that fall.

There is this wildly competitive spirit in the sub-culture of Christianity. Everyone wants to be blameless and above reproach. Most are taught to live their lives in a way that nobody can have doubts about them. Father’s teach their children that the unbelieving world is watching them all the time and they must not give them a reason to discredit their Christianity. They say that, even if you’re not doing anything wrong, it’s wrong if you make people doubt you or God. This people pleasing mentality is even given that high gloss sheen of extreme righteousness. If the sheen is glossy enough, it can glare out the ‘self’ in self-righteous and keep people blinded and disoriented enough to not know why the whole thing feels so wrong.

It’s because it is wrong. Bizarre behavior of forced spirituality and the pressure to fake it, too. Get out. There is something real and something deep inside you knows it. Get away from the counterfeit other wise ‘those who wait on the Lord’ will start to settle for the High School melodrama version.

If you’re someone who has been ejected from that merry-go-round, sit back for a while and take inventory of what you can see now. You’ve fallen and instead of helping you up, like they preach, they spit condemnation at you. They don’t want you back on their toy. Now you can see the holes in the faith system. You may have been aware of them before, but there’s nothing like falling through one to get you to care about it.

Now look at those who refuse to show you grace. Instead of assuming they’re speaking for God, think about what they may have to gain from your failure. Even the comparison is enough for some  to list your faults and failures. It elevates them to decrease you. Did they gain relationships from your fall? Relationships that used to belong to you?

No one would refuse to offer you unshackled grace unless they were afraid of what you could reveal about them or what you could take away from them. God’s grace doesn’t only affect the the recipient, it realigns the entire group. Some see that coming and they’re terrified of it. Their terrified of losing the ground and honor.

This tyrannic behavior can’t last long, however. People are watching and they need to start taking steps to build a bridge. They don the white hat and tie while they make others do the work. They load you down with self doubt and expectations that they’re hoping you can never navigate properly. Their hand is on the button to get the wrecking ball swinging again and you’re left dancing to avoid his flying bullets. They never intend to bring you back, they just want to make it look like they’re trying and you’re still failing.

They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’ -Jesus, Matthew 23:4-7

You don’t have to worry about relying on people to set things right. God’s hands aren’t tied and this suffering won’t last forever. Not one second of ignorant people using God’s name to torture you in the dark has gone unnoticed. He sticks up for the broken and abused. A victim can quickly become a tormentor if they don’t trust that God can handle their vengeance better than they can. God appears to delay and men become impatient with the pain. Don’t weaken the end result by taking bits and pieces of payback into your own hands. Stop the vicious cycle by letting them take the allegorical swings. They’re tallied. When they have to answer for their behavior, they’ll have the same choice that you did when you were called out. You can answer for yourself, relying on your own ability to debate and hope God can’t see the recesses of your heart, or you can let Jesus answer for you.

You have to be ready for them to (and hope that they will) get off without punishment. The way to do this is to remind yourself of what it was like to be aware of your own dark heart with nothing in you to make it go away. You have to remember what it was like to receive grace because the actual experience removes the fear that setting someone free only frees them to hurt you more. It doesn’t  and those who have been there know this. It changes you. Be ready for their own ‘burning’ during that ‘purifying’ process and make a point to be one of the first to go on record as one who loves them and believes in them.

Bide your time leaving a trail to peace. Carry your basket of stars and leave them clues that you believed in them all along. In this horrible time of feeling like you’re underneath them, maybe you can distract yourself by making preparations for the party when the hell is over.


12 Comments »


12 Comments on “trail of grace”

  1. 1 Amy said at 8:03 am on March 2nd, 2010:

    A huge challenge to begin preparations of grace for those who are so graceless to you.

    Crazy good.

  2. 2 Dana said at 8:26 am on March 2nd, 2010:

    Reading you is challenging because it makes me aware of a choice. I needed to read this today, not because I didn't see the choice, but because I needed to know I'm not crazy.

    Do you really think that people who are so separated can be together one day? What do you do when people hurt you? Are you like this?

  3. 3 Serena Woods said at 8:29 am on March 2nd, 2010:

    Amy: yes, the challenge to see and behave according to the eventual peace and 'oneness' that is promised instead of the emotional 'here and now' that is consuming.

    Dana: I'm glad you feel challenged. 🙂 To answer your question: I am that way, but have found that most people are not. So, I wait.

  4. 4 anonymous said at 8:50 am on March 2nd, 2010:

    You don't think it's important to strive for purity and to be aware of the sins of others so that you aren't caught in the same trap they are? When someone chooses selfish behavior, they obviously aren't living Godly lives, therefore should not be called Godly and we should make an example of them. We are setting an example to the world and loose living is makes us no different from them.

  5. 5 Serena Woods said at 9:08 am on March 2nd, 2010:

    anonymous:

    if you can achieve purity, then strive for it. You can get an A+ in your purity class and still have no relationship with Jesus.

    if you think that there is no cure for sin, then, please, stay out of the way. you would do more damage to them by being around them than you would if you just stayed away.

    An example of what? Condemnation or salvation? Are you standing up for perfection or for what Jesus did?

    ugh.

  6. 6 April said at 11:54 am on March 2nd, 2010:

    Purity shouldn't be the goal. Clinging to Christ should be the goal. Relationship with Him. Pursue Him. Purity almost seems like a cuss word. Or such a taboo topic. Soon as it's brought up, feathers are ruffled.

    "They will know you are mine by your love"…. set an example by love. John 13:35.

    anonymous- I can remember a time when I would've agreed with you. Until I began to ask God the questions I was afraid to ask in sunday school. The simple ones that I was supposed to already know the answers to because I'd been told I shouldn't be a baby Christian on milk anymore. I asked God to show me what I needed to know about this purity, this grace stuff.. etc. I did. I finally got real with Him.

    It's so good. The truth will throw you for a loop, you'll be blurry eyed at first.

  7. 7 Julie said at 12:56 pm on March 2nd, 2010:

    I have found my own struggles to be overwhelming because of the condemnation of others. ("Christians" who looked down their nose at me because I had failed.) My husband and I left a church once because I was told from the pulpit that the church could not continue to pray for my husband's safety to and from his job (an hour and a half drive) and that God would give him something closer to home…why could they not continue to pray?? Because my husband hadn't been to church in a while. I walked out that Sunday morning and never looked back…and for years I followed my own path. I felt like if that was who God was I didn't need or want Him… I struggled for many years trying to reconcile the God that I had been instructed to see and the one who was truly out there… Not entirely the same guy. I have found who God is… I know He loves me. I know He has a plan for me…even when I fail…I'm supposed to get up, get dusted off and continue on…Some "Christians" don't act like they think you should get back up… their entire attitude seems to be "you fell, you wicked and evil person" "get away from me, sinner", what I love…is learning how to not be that type of "Christian".

  8. 8 April said at 1:01 pm on March 2nd, 2010:

    oh this is getting good. I love that, too… learning how to not be that type! love it. and the teacher is Perfect.

  9. 9 Michelle said at 1:24 pm on March 2nd, 2010:

    thank you

  10. 10 nikkie said at 3:10 pm on March 2nd, 2010:

    i'm chewing on this one. reading and re-reading it. sadly, i see much truth in this post and i've experienced it in my own life. the getting back on their 'toy' is not pretty. not easy. actually, concerning myself with whether or not they let me back 'on' is not what matters to me any longer. it did in the beginning. it doesn't now. i know of His love for me~and for them~ and the power of His redemptive work in my life. THAT's what matters. great post, serena.

  11. 11 m* said at 3:52 pm on March 2nd, 2010:

    This is the gospel that saved me. This is the gospel I came to love. This post is cool clean water from a deep deep well. Thank you Serena.

    Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Matthew 23:15

  12. 12 just a lass hiking w said at 7:44 pm on March 6th, 2010:

    sent you an email by way of your Contact page. good post.


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