You know how we as parents love our children and don’t want them to get hurt? And if they do, we want to fix them and hold them so close right away? Even if they did it to themselves accidentally or on purpose? That’s the way our awesome Father in Heaven, our Daddy, is. When we get hurt, His heart breaks, and He runs to us and wants to heal us. Even if we do it to ourselves. And sin is self-injury to our soul.
We are so passionate about safety and rules with our children because we passionately love them, not just because we are angry, critical, mean controllers. Same with Him. That’s what He means when He says He’s jealous over us, when He says His love is as strong as death, or when He says to kiss the Son lest He be angry. (Shallow middle and modern English translations.)
I need to hear this for myself. It is so easy for me to feel like a failure at times still, whether not living up to a particular external or internal standard, or flat-out falling on my face in life. We are not always so equally gracious to everyone. We are selective to whom we give grace. That also includes ourselves.
I have always had a conviction of right and wrong. I haven’t always been as keen or accurate as to what those things are, and it has been a deepened seeking and receiving of God in my heart and life that has helped me understand more. But as He tendered and mended the seared and damaged areas of my conscience, I began to understand something else.
His call to do life well, to deter from sin, was not designed to be driven by a fear factor, but rather a love factor, a passion for Him and desire to be in love with Him. I didn’t understand grace for many years, but as I became acquainted with it, I was afraid of it—I didn’t know why, but I had such a hard time accepting it for myself.
Then one day, I realized my deeper fear was that if I were to accept this grace, it would mean I am compromising my values and lifestyle. It would also mean I would have to allow love for myself from God and others. So these walls fear and pride had to be addressed. And it became a simple decision to concertedly remove them.
God simply expressed to me that I didn’t have to be afraid of compromise, that I would still be the same person with the same standards and values. This was just about how to experience freedom from looming guilt and shame of the past. I learned that guilt and shame are indicators and pointers to an end result, not the end themselves. Once they have done their job (e.g., leading me to repentance or avoidance of certain things), then they are called to retire under the blood of Jesus.
And pride…well, you know how pride works. It takes a great deal of conscious, deliberate, humble effort to be willing to work through its reinforcing emotion. But there has to be something within at some point that says NO to it. No, pride, you WON’T dictate my life. This is MY life, not yours, and I choose grace and God’s love. I choose freedom, and I choose to allow God and others the blessing of loving me. And I found I had a greater capacity to love others as a result, with unconditionality and compassion.
So, to the reference of the injured child…while there’s an element of teaching and guidance when he or she has some or all responsibility for her injuries, it is 100% love and healing. This is grace. This is the unconditional of love unconditional. This is the essence of the blood of Jesus, the fabric of the cross.
Wherever you are in your journey, whether you are embarrassed by your present, hounded by your past, trapped, stripped of life’s securities, whether you failed or things failed around you…maybe this will help sink from the head to the heart, where the anchors of life reside. There will be times when there is nothing to stand on but Him alone. No crutches. No buffers.
For you recovering perfectionists, this will really be some manual labor that will take a lot of initiative. And when you get better at it, you will still have to clock in and put in the work when situations come in the future. I can assure you of that personally. But it feels good, and it’s freeing, and life opens up on the inside when you commit to it. You will find there is more of you the more you empty yourself of yourself. God and you multiply and get very big on the inside, and it can’t stay there!