Friday, January 29, 2016

Encourage one another/MANN

Recently, I’ve been personally challenged to accept grace and offer it unconditionally to others. It can be rather illusive at times, until we share it, exercise it and verbalize it. And then it’s like the flood gates have opened and the cleansing waters of encouragement and empowerment flows.

Mercy withholds what we deserve and grace blesses what we don’t deserve. Or look at it this way, Mercy is something you don't get when you should and grace is what you do get when you shouldn't. I used to see this repeatedly when I chaplain in the prison system. Often God was ready to step up to the plate while people stood contemplating. It was like seeing Jesus sitting at the well waiting for the woman of Samaria to come for water. Time after time, God was at work in another’s heart before the person or others were ready to admit it. 

It always helps to encourage one another to extend grace when its importance hasn’t been grasped. Often, it takes a release of a grudge or an experience of forgiveness to have the courage to offer grace to someone who doesn’t understand.

When one holds a deep resentment, forgiving grace is often not identified. And when another has wronged us, it’s difficult to recognize God has already preceded anything we could possibly do. And yet we are still called to echo that grace, give it voice, offer a healing presence.

Forgiveness is not easy for some people – pain has been too deep – memory is too alive. And yet, if they decide to carry the grudge, they risk continued connection to the offender giving him or her personal power. Slowly this diminishes the light of love within.

A while back, our church book club studied ‘Made for Goodness: and why this makes all the difference’ (Desmond and Mpho Tutu) “We are made for God, who is the giver of life. We are made by God, who holds us in life” (p.13) are statements that remind us of our and other’s creation, causing us to think twice about undoing any of God’s work. My elderly Aunt Emily was known to confront anyone who spoke against people with these words, “Now Johnny, they are all God’s children.”

Therefore (my friends and all who read this) encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11).



Peter Black said...

An experienced shepherd's heart and wisdom gathered from decades of following Him and obeying His voice are reflected in this piece. Thank you, Donna. ~~+~~

Lux G. said...

I know it's not easy to forgive and it takes time. What's important is that we work on it every day until we get there.

Glynis said...

Peter is correct, Donna. Your experience in shepherding has made you mot wise. I love this: "Mercy withholds what we deserve and grace blesses what we don’t deserve."

Donna Mann said...

Thank you folks for your comments. Grace and Mercy - yes, what we are spared and what we given - miracles in themselves. And sometimes a surprise.

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