Grace Is For Other People

One of the worst things about sin and suffering are how they isolate you. Your struggles are bad enough, but the real killer isn’t the issue itself, it’s trying to cover it up. You feel ashamed or weird and so you back off from other people.  Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, you feel like you’ve got something to hide.  You act like you’re revolting and then you start to believe  it. You become a self-fulfilling shame prophecy. Like Mr Messy, all tangled feelings and inside-out.

It seems simpler to manage the problem yourself.  For one thing, you’re not sure how to explain it.  At times it seems crazy, even to yourself.  How on earth could anyone else understand?  Sure, you’ve helped out others – even those with similar struggles.  But the same rules don’t apply to you.  You don’t deserve grace. You’re uniquely messed up.

You see,  that’s another thing.  You know the gospel in your head, but not in your stomach.  The scriptures about grace and forgiveness seem to have gotten stuck somewhere round your ribs.  In fact, they’re choking you.

You’re a Christian, but you don’t act like it.  If you really believe the gospel, if you really love God, why can’t you just stop? You must hate Jesus to drag Him into such sin. You would pray, but God would probably hang up or ignore the call.

Yes we’re saved by grace – and even forgiven when we make mistakes.  But not ones like this.  Not every week – or even day. The conclusion is obvious.  You’re not really a Christian.  And if you are, it’s by the hair of your teeth.

Then there’s other people.  Even Christians.  Especially Christians. They do care. But only so much.  Even if you did open up, there’d be a  time limit to pulling it together. You’ve only got a certain number of ‘lives’ before others walk away. Best not to bother.You don’t want to be a burden.  A drain. You don’t deserve help.

Funny thing is, if someone  came to you in the same situation, you’d welcome them with outstretched arms. You’d point them to the Lord whose arms are always open. You might not have the answers, but you’d stand with them. You’d hug them and love them and pray for them and fight with them. You’d remind them that they’re valuable and dearly loved – even in the middle of their worst struggles.  Even if they don’t feel it themselves.

But in your case it’s not the same.  Not the same at all.

6 thoughts on “Grace Is For Other People

  1. Good consideration, Emma.

    The idea that grace is for other people (ie. those who appear to appreciate it more and are being “more productive” with it) has been frequently haunting my mind as of late.
    While it is true now that I’m far more likely to be urging others into the Lord’s arms while I hang back, I think part of the reason is that I have a history of self-righteous judgmentalism regarding the obvious failures of others. Until fairly recently, there was little recognition in my own life of my need for God’s merciful intervention; and it’s hard to accept that I’ve not already gone too far over the line of presumption regarding the Lord’s patience and willingness to forgive.

  2. Em, please get out of my head!
    I hate that I can see my own hypocrisy but still find it hard to accept grace. Deep breath, ongoing prayer, remember the gospel.

  3. I can relate to feeling like this. I am currently under the covers and skiving church because I can’t cope with being bounced at this morning!

  4. The ways in which we reject grace are pretty complex aren’t they? Like believing forgiveness extends only to certain kinds of sins. Telling ourselves that we ought to know better or have repented earlier. Hypocrisy and self-righteousness – those aren’t covered. At least not with my track record. And what about the ones I hadn’t realised I was committing?

    ‘Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns?
    Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is interceding for us’. Rom 8:33-34

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it brain!

  5. I was re-sharing your Christmas post from last year on Facebook as I awaited this year’s one (there will be, rightrightright?). As I wanted to do so I found myself switching from mobile mode (which I usually read your blog from) to desktop mode, cos it’s easier to find archives that way.

    And then I saw your list of tags, .. no prizes for guessing why I clicked the self-harm one (let’s just say the first post I’ve ever read from your blog is the one you made on self-harm awareness day 2013 .. there we go) only to come across this post.

    Yessss Emma, above commenter is right – get out of my head, you!

    But yes – all this was me, uncannily enough, just at the time of the original publication of this post. & yet I’m realising – 4 years later, all this is STILL me, even now. Even as Getting Help (ie pyschologist appointments) are supposed to Make Me Better .. some days I feel like all they seem to do is remind me of how much of a Shame I am – that Grace? Is for everyone but me.

    My doc & psychologist are both super amazing people (although it took some searching/health-professional-hopping to get here ..), but I suppose it’s merely human to feel this way sometimes ..

    But well – taking comfort in your Christmas post of the Bloody Nativity .. that the first Christmas isn’t the one we want, but the one we Need. Like you said in that one –

    Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15).

    There we go, proceeding to hide under my queen-sized quilt in embarrassment after this, cos I’ve just shared the teeniest worstest bit of myself with a random stranger half the world away (& her readers) on the world wide web – how glamorous, not.

    (Haha not really. But ish.)

  6. thank you for sharing Dee: no Shame! Not for you, or for me or for anyone who is in Him. What a Saviour and what a gift. Happy Christmas sister. xxx

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