Friday, January 25, 2013


I sit slumped forward, discouraged, and hope runs thin as I replay the conversation. Why did I choose to be annoyed? Why did I choose to speak harshly? Why did I choose to let it get under my skin instead of absorbing the offense?

I know there’s a time to stick up for myself or clarify another’s misconception. But there’s also a time to choose to let things go, to absorb the insult, to respond with grace and kindness even though it seems so contrary to my natural response. 

I’m a Christian. I have a new heart, and one that is not of stone but is of flesh. This new heart it supposed to be soft and loving and my speech is supposed to be seasoned with grace.I continue thinking about the same conversation and I hear the unkind, impatient words that I spoke. Where is the softness? Where is the grace?

My heart is heavy, weighted. I wish I could simply rewind and redo the last few minutes. I chose to speak hard words of anger; I chose to do what was wrong when there was such a clear choice to do what was right.

But grace…

Sin is ugly and glaring, but it will not control, nor will it have the final say. Sin that leads to sorrow that brings me to Christ upon that cross that softens my heart in repentance that allows me to find forgiveness that covers me in His grace. What an intricate, compassionate design.

The weight lifts. The burden eases. The sorrow is replaced with peace. Peace: something that, even moments before, I was clawing at but that was out of my reach.

My mind returns to that recent conversation where I fell so short of the mark, where I was cold and annoyed and impatient and unloving. I can’t help but think how it’s altogether effortless to be gracious in the easy moments but that it’s a testimony to His goodness when graciousness abounds in difficulty, when graciousness marks me even when I’m responding to unkindness. 

I’m reasonably good at loving people when they’ve shown love towards me. I often fail at loving people well when they’ve hurt me. There’s nothing remarkable in the former; there’s something uniquely Christian in the latter.

I speak these words to someone I love:

“It was wrong to be short-tempered, to be unkind to you. I should have been gracious; I have every reason in the world to be gracious. Would you forgive me?”

How sweet it is, to hear words of love and forgiveness spoken in return. Repentance and forgiveness brings such freedom, such joy, such life.

There is no delight in sin or in the heaviness that descends. But there is a moment of profound, indescribable beauty when repentance is met with forgiveness.