Tag Archives: Unconditional Love

Falling Into Grace

“Grace can’t be explained; it has to be experienced … grace always has a story.” – Kyle Idleman

Grace is a word that we are all familiar with. We might think of it as a quick prayer at the start of a formal dinner. Or maybe a popular baby girls name. Perhaps you might think of a ballet dancer or figure skater moving gracefully around the room. You may of even heard it talked about in church.

But as the quote above says – grace is so much more than all that. It is not simply a word, a short prayer or even a religious concept…

Grace is an experience!

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Over the past few years God has really deepened my experience, understanding and revelation of grace. Grace has become such a powerful reality in my life that even just hearing or thinking the word can often bring tears to my eyes, or tangibly move my heart very deeply, as I hear and ponder it.

To me, the concept of divine grace is one of the most beautiful things in the world!

This is mainly because I believe, know and have profoundly experienced – that divine grace truly is the ultimate foundational building block of unconditional love.

You cannot separate grace from love. They are fully dependant on one another. Unconditional love is only possible because of undeserved grace.

Of course, we are talking about a specific definition of the word grace. I am referring to the word as a Biblical concept, a spiritual experience. So before I move on, let me first attempt to describe to you what I SEE when I read, or hear, the word grace in this context.

In the Bible’s New Testament, grace is translated from the Greek word ‘charis’ which can be translated as God’s unmerited or undeserved favour and ability. To favour someone or something is to prioritise, show preference to, demonstrate a special kindness towards and basically give approval to that person or thing.

Normally in our day to day world we would show ‘favour’ to someone that we love more than others, ie. a spouse, child, family member, best friend, someone who has helped or shown us more kindness than others. We would rarely show ‘favour’ to someone who had been unkind, treated us badly or someone that we dislike.

Therefore we usually show favour (or grace) to people conditionally. We repay love for love, kindness for kindness, generosity for generosity, dislike for dislike, rudeness for rudeness, hate for hate. The way someone behaves or acts towards us dictates how we react, treat and respond to them in the vast majority of cases.

This is where ‘charis’ blows normal human behaviour and convention out of the water.

The whole point of the New Testament concept of charis is that it is wholly undeserved. There is no initial assessment about whether someone’s behaviour merits us favouring them. We decide to favour them – before we know how they will treat or respond to us. AND we choose to favour and show kindness to them DESPITE wrong, hurtful or negative treatment or attitude towards us.

Do you see how undeserved grace is the foundational building block of unconditional love?

Can you SEE how outrageously beautiful it is as a concept to me? However, the stunning nature of undeserved charis can never be fully explained in words. It has to be SEEN & EXPERIENCED. For us to truly get a life changing revelation of its glorious divine nature and intention you have to have lived through, and from, its awesome perspective. As the lyrics to this song show is so beautifully…

“And nothing ever LOOKED like this
The wonder of a world I missed
The clarity I find in GRACE
Never thought I’d SEE this way.
You’ve been there every time I fall
Been there through it all
All this time to SHOW me
The VIEW from here.”
– Stu Garrard (The View From Here)

Those words help to describe the profound transforming metamorphosis that occurs from the day, or season, that we truly begin to SEE via divine grace.

It revolutionises the way that we SEE the world. It completely changes our own perspective of God and humanity. We start viewing everything from the eyes of our hearts – rather than with our limited heads and minds. It is a wholly new ‘view from here’. And today I want to try and describe something of the view from the vantage point of divine undeserved grace.

“The view from here
So beautiful
It’s so beautiful…
… can you SEE it now?”
(Stu Garrard ‘The View From Here’)

The view from the outlook of grace is truly stunning. It is simply indescribably beautiful. As you look out at the world, you begin to increasingly see the beauty in each and every person you meet. Even when they are in a bad mood, even if they treat you terribly, despite their good or bad behaviour. You see hidden beauty within them and you long to reach, connect with it and draw it out from them. You feel a profound depth of love for them before you even meet or know them.

Undeserved grace is truly THAT radical!

Isn’t it beautiful?!

Can you imagine a world where everyone could see and treat others from that viewpoint?

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But I can also hear the cynics among you mumbling: “Well that’s simply unattainable idealistic ‘world peace’ rubbish – who on earth can love to that depth? How can you love someone you don’t know or have never even met ... if you don’t know them – how do you know if that person really deserves your love?”

And all true Jesus followers should quickly reply with a resounding…

“We don’t! – But that’s the whole point of grace.”

How deserving someone is of love is taken right out of the equation.

There is nothing they could do to make us love them more. There is nothing they can do to make us love them less. We simply love them because we just love them. Full stop!

Isn’t it beautiful?

But…you might say… is it really possible to live like that? With that radical view of the world? Seeing every person you meet as uniquely, but distinctly, beautiful?

It is ONLY possible if you have ‘experienced’ that undeserved grace and unconditional love yourself first personally. You can’t view the world like that until you truly see and experience that level of divine love from the source of perfect, infinite, Divine Love Himself – Jesus Christ! When people have truly experienced divine undeserved grace and love. It will naturally flow out of them like streams of living water – to increasing measure, to everyone they meet. You can’t make it, will it or force it to happen. It should just increasingly become as natural as breathing, for those people who have truly surrendered to God’s unconditional love and grace.

However, unmerited grace is not a one-off experience alone. That is where it begins. But it’s real beauty is seen when people experience an ongoing deeper and deeper revelation personally. Day by day. Month by month. Season by season. And as they do it will just naturally transform the way they think, feel and behave until they increasingly drip and bleed undeserved grace and unconditional love to everyone they meet.

That metamorphosis has to be one of the most stunningly beautiful processes to watch happening in both yourself and others. Once you have seen and tasted what grace can do in your own and other people’s lives. Once you have experienced the restful ease of it’s transforming power. When you begin to rise up and view the worlds valleys and humanities brokenness from the lush green hills of grace.

You are never the same again!

However, the hidden glory of that transformation is that you will only truly experience it mesmerising depths, IF you begin from a place of witnessing the true extent to which it is undeserved. In your own life first… then in others second.

The truth is you will only experience grace in proportion to how much you acknowledge the depths of your own brokenness and weakness.

The divine key – given freely via Jesus Christ – to unlocking this view of undeserved grace and unconditional love in your own heart… Is surrendering to and receiving it’s ultimate core revelation…

That you have done nothing and can do nothing now, or in the future, to deserve miraculous divine perfect love.

The moment you believe you have done something that helps make you worthy of unconditional love and undeserved grace, you have voided the whole revelation and experience. You cannot experience grace by earning it – you can only receive as the ultimate gift.

You can only experience grace when you see how absolutely undeserved it really is!

And that is also humanity’s biggest hurdle to receiving the life transforming experience. Because humans like to justify how good and deserving they are; of respect, life and love. They have believed the lie that has completely corrupted people’s understanding and experience of love in our world – that love is something you give and receive because of how much you have earned and deserved it. This is why human convention dictates that you love those who love you, show kindness to those who are kind to you, and dislike and even hate those who dislike and hate you. Which makes the most sense to our human minds.

However…

People can’t see that it’s just that corruption of love that has polluted and destroyed our world, it’s inhabitants and all our relationships. The world is falling apart because it doesn’t truly understand and hasn’t truly experienced perfect unconditional love.

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All this is because the truth is ‘weakness is the ONLY way’ to receiving that love. And unfortunately humanity hates feeling weak. We spend our lives trying to cover over and whitewash the cracks and crevices we ALL have. We will do anything we can to show off our strengths and sometimes go to any extreme to hide and cover over our weaknesses.

This results in our own ‘view from here’ being totally corrupted, polluted and full of both:

Pride AND shame.
Superiority AND inferiority.
Self-promoting AND self-hiding.
Self-prioritising AND self-loathing.
Arrogance AND false humility.

All of which will pollute and destroy perfect love.

Paul said in the Bible; “But he (God) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬

Anyone who has followed any part of my painful three year journey through a debilitating and devastating chronic illness will have heard and seen how it’s relentless waves have completely wrecked me again and again. I cannot begin to describe to you what has happened in my life over the past three and a half years. But perhaps I would say that, at times, it felt like a mixture of a devastating typhoon that ravaged its way through my life and attempted to destroy everything in its path. Whilst I sailed through its unrelenting storm in an exposed wooden rowing boat trying to not be completely sunk by the untamable wind and waves that seemed to strip me naked and constantly flood over me. On and off, I thought I was physically, mentally and spiritually drowning. Unable to cope or see a way through.

I can’t tell you how weak and vulnerable you feel when you are quite literally mostly bed bound and debilitated by a ‘life wrecking’, widely misunderstood, illness.

But as the never-ending storm raged and ripped through my life, stripping me of so many parts of my identity, dreams for the future and so much of what I could do, it revealed a deeper and deeper vulnerability. It exposed more and more of the real, naked, hidden and weak me. Until at moments I wasn’t totally sure what was left behind amidst the tatters of my old life.

Its destructive path at times completely overwhelmed me... but through it all... that still small voice of the Holy Spirit whispered…

“Weakness is the way”
“You can’t – but I AM can”
“Let yourself fall into My undeserved grace”
“Immerse yourself in My unconditional love”

And over time I began to SEE more and more of the depths of my Creator’s unconditional love – that could only be experienced through falling into and being completely immersed in His undeserved grace.

The old me who wanted to look, and be, so strong, the old me who struggled with pride and shame as the depth of her weakness was exposed, the old me who wanted to cover her nakedness with various worldly ‘fig leaves’ as Adam and Eve did after the fall…. Had to let herself be brutally killed off more and more –  so that I could experience His ever increasing grace.

All of my heroic self-attempts to keep striving to be strong, all of my ugly self-reliance that tried to fight the battle on my own, all of my projected ‘able, high-achieving, pretentious’ self-identity had to be brutally crushed and wounded.

… until I could again see that we can do absolutely NOTHING to earn or deserve God’s divine favour. We cannot add – even a morsel – to His unmerited ability or His unearned strength at work within us. 

“It would be so much more comfortable if God would keep us in our “strengths zone” wouldn’t it? But God keeps thrusting us into our “weakness zone” because it is only in our weakness that he is made strong”. – Christine Cane.

My Father, Lover and Friend… in His incomprehensible wisdom, allowed me to walk through the relentless ‘valley of the shadow of death and destruction’. So that I would learn to fall more deeply into Him. So that He could keep leading me like a Shepherd leads his scared lost sheep, up the greener, more peaceful, lusher mountainside. Up towards the higher ground where ‘the view from here’ would look even more stunningly beautiful than ever before.

My view of undeserved grace and unconditional love could only be widened and deepened when I truly realised that…

“It’s NONE of me… it’s ALL of Him.”

And that is what characterised His constant whispers to my soul throughout the storm…

“You can only do this through I AM’s undeserved grace. It’s My strength in your weakness. I didn’t build or design you to try and scale this mountain by your own human striving, strength and perseverance. I have allowed you to feel and see the depth of your weakness – so that you will see how much you need My grace. So FALL into My grace My precious, dependant, child and allow my SHALOM peace and completeness to STILL your heart again. And watch as you are saturated by My unconditional Love – so that when you look into the eyes of every person you meet, you will truly SEE with My eyes of pure unadulterated love.”

That is my ‘view from here’ which grows clearer and clearer each and every day.

That is why the word grace can cause me to catch my breath, bring tears to my eyes and deeply move my burning heart once again.

That is my story of undeserved grace.

That is what I need you to hear as you listen to my tragically beautiful tale.

Weakness is the only way to truly experience God. His grace can only be received as a mind-blowingly generous undeserved gift. His unconditional love is given despite our faults and failures. So that when we receive it – it will overflow to everyone we meet. In the stunning form of unconditional love for ALL people – regardless of how they feel about us in return. 

The view from here is so very beautiful. It’s so beautiful… can you SEE it now? 

“Christianity is not primarily a moral code but a grace-laden mystery; it is not essentially a philosophy of love but a love affair; it is not keeping rules with clenched fists but receiving a gift with open hands”. – Brennan Manning

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What You Say Flows From What Is In Your Heart

Kind words can be short and easy to speak,
but their echoes are truly endless. – Mother Teresa

Have you ever wondered what is going on in someone’s heart? Who they really are and what they really think?

One sure way to work it out is to listen to what they say! What words come out of their mouths? What words do they write down/ type and share day after day.

In the Bible Jesus said…

“What you say flows from what is in your heart.” – Luke 6:45*

He is explaining that our words are connected to what is going on inside us. They are connected to our true hearts.

Yes of course we can pretend or say things we don’t really mean. But if you spend a lot of time with someone long term and listen to what they are saying, you will soon begin to get a picture of what is going on in their heart.

But the same is true for us! Have you ever stood back to consider how your own words paint a picture of what is going on within you?

Is your heart….
Tender or hard,
Loving or hateful,
Understanding or judgmental,
Forgiving or revengeful,
Sweet or bitter,
Cold or warm,
Kind or unkind,
Humble or proud?

heart shaped  in sand

Love is one of the main things that should show through your words.

If you love someone with your whole heart, it should be obvious in the way we speak to and about them.

I personally believe love resides in our hearts like a beautiful song. If our hearts sing with love, our words should sing with that same love. And everyone should be able to hear the song of love in and through our words.

That’s one of my personal goals in life – for my words to sing with an otherworldly love that can only come from knowing the unfathomable unconditional love and grace of God.

If I am truly in love with God, and desire to love others wholeheartedly, you will hear it in the way I speak, write and act.

“When you know how much God is in love with you then you can only live your life radiating that love.” – Mother Teresa

When you fall in love with someone, you can’t stop thinking about them. You constantly want to talk to them. You desire to be with them. You will find yourself wanting to tell others about them.

Love is such a powerful and all consuming force. And yet we can get so comfortable in our love for others, that over the years it can wain in its intensity. That’s when the cracks appear. Our words get a little harsher, a little less patient, more critical, more negative, less understanding, more self focused.

We convince ourselves that this is the other person’s fault. Perhaps if they were more lovable and loving it would be easy. Maybe if they weren’t so infuriating and selfish we would have more positives to say.


“Love resides in our hearts like a beautiful song.”


But what if we turned that on its head a moment and thought…

What if the problem is not mainly ‘the other,’ what if our main problem is our OWN hearts? If our words are becoming overly negative what does that say about what is going on inside us? What does that say about the quality of our love in the first place?

True love is not a fleeting emotion!

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:7‬ *

Love to me is ALWAYS unconditional. It is selfless – thinking of the other first. It is patient and kind, persistent and persevering. It’s full of grace. It is not easily angered, proud or self seeking. It covers over faults and loves regardless of weaknesses.

The challenge for me is that if that is the love I believe is in my heart. That love should then be revealed and shown through my words and actions.

Do my words sing with the love that I say is in my heart?

What do my words say about what is truly going on in my heart?

That’s a challenge to me. I certainly daily make mistakes. At times my words can be too harsh – especially to my family or when I feel particularly ill or get very tired. But I do want to do better, I can always be more positive, patient & understanding, even when exhausted and in pain.

Maybe we could take some time to consider that this week. Try and listen to what you say. Think about why you speak like you do.

You never know, you might discover that too many of your own words are negative, critical and hurtful. We all have ways we can improve in our communication with others. We can all be more kind and understanding. We can think more about how we can treat others as we would want to be treated.

What do your words reveal about your heart?

“What you say flows from what is in your heart.” – Luke 6:45

“Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange.” – Maria Popova


*Verses from the Bible

The Power of Love

“Make love your goal”
Frankie Goes To Hollywood ‘The Power of Love.’

“Let love be your highest goal”
The Bible

Nothing touches us deep inside like true love. I cannot imagine my life without it – love makes us feel alive. We feel valuable, safe, cared for, connected and content.

I believe that love is the greatest and most powerful of all human emotions. The passion of love is a driving force in our lives. We love our families, we fall in love with another and we know the love of friends. Many are searching for it, some wonder if they have truly found it. To love and to be loved is one of our greatest joys in life and something that we all long for.

“You do something to me.
Something deep inside…
You do something to me
Somewhere deep inside.”
Paul Weller

I love these lyrics by Paul Weller. I think they explain what love can feel like so well. You know that you have encountered love when another person connects with you deeply. What they say or who they are does ‘something, somewhere deep inside’ of us. It moves us. We can’t always explain it or understand it, it isn’t just simply an attraction or the fact they make you feel good. You feel a deep connection to them – an intensity deep in your heart.

Over the years I have learnt that we feel love most when we love others. Yes, another’s love for us touches us deeply too, but we feel love most when WE LOVE. Sometimes I think we can convince ourselves that we feel love most when we are loved more. However, I believe that when the focus is on us, we actually feel love less. The passion and feelings of love come from OUR LOVE for someone else.

This is perhaps seen most beautifully when parents love their newborn children. That baby is not yet old enough to understand how to show us love, and yet we usually feel utterly overwhelmed and consumed by love. It is not because they enter into the world loving us, it is because WE LOVE THEM.

Love is like an energy
Rushing in, rushing inside of me.
– Frankie Goes To Hollywood ‘The Power Of Love.’

Love IS like an energy, a blazing fire within us that wants to be with that other person, to love and protect them, to care for and help them. It chooses to see the best in others.

The problem is if we wait to be loved FIRST we may never feel love. This is because love is always something that has to be given before it can be received. We cannot receive something that has not already been given.

Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love. -Leo Buscaglia

This is one of the main problems in the world today. People are so very scared of getting hurt that they fear ‘giving love’ in case it is not reciprocated. They fear giving a deep part of themselves to then find that it has been trampled upon. Such is the world today – people are unsurprisingly suspicious of one another; there is little trust left. Love has been watered down to a fuzzy feeling and feelings can change with the wind.

However, the strongest relationships that have the potential to last the test of time are characterised by people choosing to bestow love as a gift. They love to love, not to receive love. This is when love is given in an atmosphere of grace. Grace gives EVEN when we don’t deserve it. True love is unconditional and selfless. It chooses to stay the long hall and gives up its own rights for another.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. The Bible **

What a challenge.

Do we really love like this?

It involves sacrifice.
It requires endurance.
It chooses to never give up.

And so the journey of love is not easy as I write about here. Love is not the fairy tale we are sold. Love must walk through many challenges. It leaves us open to hurt. Many of us have felt the pain of a broken heart when we loved and the other person walked away. That is one of the reasons our world is full of hate.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Love is daring. It takes risks. It does leave us vulnerable and open, because love is only love when it reaches out and touches deeply. That means there is always a chance that we might get hurt. However, what should we then do – say that we will never love again in order to protect ourselves? But if we never love again, we will not feel or enjoy the intensity of love again either.

Heart collection

There are a lot of things that touch me deeply inside my heart. Over the years I have developed a tender heart that feels love a lot. I have found the more you love, the more you feel love. I have decided to ‘make love my highest goal’ and to spread the aroma of love around – wherever I can, whenever I can, to whoever I can – because there is far too much negativity, criticism and hate in this world.

I want to be known as a person who ‘loved’. Someone that ‘touches others deeply’ because I dared to give love as a gift, unconditionally, whatever the response.

Yes, that does make me vulnerable (and I will always need wisdom to guard my heart so that I am not pulled into foolishness). Choosing to love is risky and I will sometimes find that my love is not reciprocated or it is even betrayed.

And it WILL hurt! 

But I know a love more powerful than all other kinds of love, a love that will always cover over and heal my hurts. A love that is patient and kind, keeps no record of wrongs and never gives up on me – even when I mess up. It’s a love that touches me deep inside, like nothing else. With it’s beautiful, powerful, pure, unconditional nature. It lives within me ‘like an energy’ and flows out of me to others (if I let it). It is the love of Jesus – love in it’s most powerful form – because it is a love that models giving and sacrifice, a love that never fails and always endures.

It’s a love that is all powerful, all consuming and yet tender and full of grace.

It’s this love that shows me what love truly is. It makes it possible for me to keep on loving, even when it feels like I am getting little back. It drives me, gives me energy and helps me to love and respect others and see their needs as well as my own. All because that love found me first.

That is a love that I can ‘make my goal.’

When I felt suicidal at Christmas following an extremely difficult year of illness and felt unable to endure any more, I wrote the card pictured below to my husband and kids telling them how much I loved them. And as I read through the words… “Love bears ALL things, believes ALL things, hopes ALL things and endures ALL things..” they pierced my heart.

Love wouldn’t give up – love couldn’t give up. It had to keep on going, search for renewed hope and believe that things would get better. 

That is the power of love. 

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Even amidst this very difficult season of my life, I’ve had to learn – even when I can’t do other things – I can still love and receive love. I can know that I am loved and allow that love to fill me again so it can flow through me to others – even when I feel completely broken.

Surely if that is the ‘highest goal’ and purpose of our lives then that is all we need.

So I hope I will always choose this way of love, even when it leaves me vulnerable, even when I have to endure. Because true love is more powerful and more incredible than we ever imagined.

And it is definitely worth living for. 


*Verse from 1 Corinthians 14:1 in the NLT translation of the Bible

** Verses from 1 Corinthians 14:4-7 in the NLT translation of the Bible

Breaking Free! From Blame

Have you noticed that when things go wrong in our lives, our human nature wants to lash out. It wants other people to share our pain. To do this we sometimes attempt to place a burden of guilt and blame on others that they are not meant to carry.

We want them to hurt like we do. 

Blame says; “all this is YOUR fault.”
Which is actually rarely true.
Usually we have played our part too. 

Blame is destructive.
It not only destroys us.
It destroys our relationships.
It attempts to destroy others’ lives. 

Blame can be devastating to those who carry it as well as those we try and inflict it on.

Blame wants others to pay for our difficulties.

It makes us bitter, vengeful and angry. We want others to take responsibility for our pain. Hoping that blaming others may lessen our hurt, excuse our own behaviour and enable us to find closure.

But instead blame perpetuates and multiplies our hurt, pain, anger and frustrations.

Blame never brings closure.
It usually changes nothing. It just makes things worse for everyone, our wounds become even more raw and painful.

Blame never brings healing.
It instead re-opens and infects wounds. When we fall over and cut our knee, we have to let it heal. We must let the scab form and allow it to do its work. If you keep pulling off the scab, the wound won’t heal and may well get infected.

Constantly revisiting blame does the same thing. Blame makes healing impossible.

Blame refuses to take any responsibility.
As the fight for blame develops, everyone takes to their corner to defend themselves and in doing so becomes more firmly entrenched in their position. 

‘It is all their fault’. 

We become blinded to our own part, to our own mistakes, and subsequently want to inflict as much pain as we can on the ‘other side.’ 

This makes everything worse and makes reconciliation impossible.

There is only one way to find closure, healing and freedom in the face of others mistakes. 

GRACE!

Grace allows no room for blame. It sees the faults in others and yet chooses to forgive and cover them.

Grace reaches out to people in the midst of their errors and chooses love instead of hate. It brings peace instead of anger and humbles itself to acknowledge its own faults first.

Grace and blame simply cannot co-exist: they are opposites. 

Blame destroys. Grace restores.
Blame attacks. Grace protects.
Blame is selfish. Grace is selfless.
Blame wounds. Grace heals.
Blame pushes forward our ‘rights’.

Grace lays down our ‘rights’. 

Both blame and grace are powerful forces. Blame chains us up. Grace instead unwraps the chains that blame and guilt wrap around us, breaking them, one by one.

This doesn’t mean the journey of grace is always easy. There is often pain in the humility and sacrifice it requires. This is because we have to let go of pride.

Pride refuses to accept we might be wrong. We use pride to protect ourselves from our own, and others, mistakes, insecurities and vulnerabilities.

Grace, on the other hand, often reveals our weakness, yet as we face them we also find healing. It loves us in our brokenness and allows that love to flow out, even to those we once blamed. 

Grace is the only way to freedom. 
 But what do we do when someone has mistreated us and will not take responsibility?

  • Does Grace mean that we don’t pursue justice? 
  • Does it blindly overlook mistreatment? 

No. 
Grace and justice co-exist and even compliment one another. 

It is all about the heart of the person pursuing justice:

  • What are their motives?
  • What do they wish to achieve? 

I personally faced a situation when I was in hospital, a few months ago, that Matt and I believed was a matter of justice and we pursued it on those grounds. I referred to it in my 6 month injury update. 

A senior doctor dealt with a situation very rudely, with no element of understanding of the desperation I was in at that time.

The next day, after he heard that we had made a verbal complaint to the Ward Sister, he tried to rectify the situation through intimidation, rather than any hint of understanding or remorse.

He would not accept that he could have dealt with things differently. Even though I attempted to explain that I would have done things differently myself, if I wasn’t feeling so acutely unwell, in pain and mentally impaired at the time.

Instead he persisted in blaming me, an unwell patient, for his behaviour and response. He would accept no responsibility, whatsoever, and felt completely justified.

At the time it was truly horrible. 

This person I was trusting with my care, at one of my weakest and most vulnerable moments, was choosing arrogance and self preservation rather than compassion, care and understanding.

In these times we have to look at the situation, look at our hearts and decide what we need to do. 

For Matt and I what happened was a justice situation and the behaviour needed to be challenged. Not just because of what was said to me but because of how this behaviour could be perpetuated to others even more vulnerable than I was.

It wasn’t about blame. It was about challenging the inappropriate behaviour of someone who had a duty of care and responsibility.

So we made a formal complaint. 

Even within that process, Matt had to challenge me about my attitude. That was hard, because I found the whole thing quite traumatic. But he was right because even amidst the complaint:

We still needed to guard our hearts.
We still needed to hold onto grace and forgiveness. 
Otherwise, we would continue to be wounded by it.

It takes a lot of wisdom to get the right balance between justice and grace. However, even when we feel the need to pursue justice we can still do that with a heart of grace rather than hate or blame.

Justice is at its most powerful when it is delivered in the context of grace. 

Parenting: Grace and Justice combined.
This combination is very evident in good parenting. If we overlooked all of our kid’s errors and misbehaviour, in the name of love and grace, and never gave any discipline, correction or consequences, they would never learn to take responsibility for their own actions.

They would probably grow up to be selfish and undisciplined adults. 

However, good parents understand that we must deliver this discipline and teach justice from a place of unconditional love and grace.

Then challenge and correction is about love rather than our need to pay back our children for their mistakes. We teach them that there is rightly consequences in the world, but we also teach them that we love them regardless of their behaviour.

That is true grace. 

Justice is about responsibility but we can pursue that without falling into blame. We don’t pursue justice to inflict pain on the other person, or to make us feel better. We instead pursue justice because it is right, protects others and because it gives us all room to change and grow.

Laying down our rights. 
There are times, however, when we may need to lay down our ‘right’ to justice so as to demonstrate grace. Those times take a lot of wisdom. Again it’s about what is going on in our hearts and the hearts of those who have caused pain or wronged us.

Grace is one of the most powerful acts of kindness that there is. It is one of the most generous of gifts, for it will often choose mercy over justice. It chooses to lay down our ‘rights’ to show love to another and to allow them freedom from the guilt that blame attempts to place upon them. 

Grace always has more chance of bringing resolution than blame. This is because as we accept responsibility for our own failures first, it makes a way for reconciliation. 

People can learn from their mistakes and grow together. It then has the potential to open the way for a stronger relationship, which can be built on the firm foundations of humility and trust.

Blame burns bridges.
Grace builds bridges. 

I know I would rather be known as a bridge builder than a bridge burner.

How about you? 

“When you blame others you give up the power to change.” – Douglas Adams

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  • Are there areas of your life where you have been made bitter by blame? 
  • Do these areas bring peace or stress in your life? 
  • Can you recognise things that you need to take responsibility for before challenging someone else’s behaviour? 

This post is part of my ‘Breaking Free!’ series of posts.