A Tribute to Grace

The Words are almost as old as Time itself, passed down from one generation to the next, committed to memory by little Jewish children throughout the ages. They were also quoted by Jesus when asked by the religious experts of his day to name the greatest commandment.

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind; this is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matthew 22:37-40).

These same Words saved my life not too long ago, when I was full of questions and my future seemed to be hanging on the answers.

She didn’t know when she said them that they’d have this impact.  She just hoped to say something that wasn’t hurtful, something encouraging that day as she sat across from me in my living room, me twenty pounds lighter but weighed down by heartache and humiliation.

I took a risk in telling her my secret, by exposing my heart, and when she said these words to me in response, I was surprised.  I expected rejection.  I expected abandonment. It’s what I received from the last person I told, and I was prepared for more. Instead, she offered me grace.

She told me she loved me, that she’d always love me no matter what I decided to do.  And she was certain, more certain than I was at the time, that I’d make the right decision, that God would make everything clear if I totally committed myself to Him.

“If you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, He’ll make the choice obvious,” she assured me.

And that was that.

Later that night we went out to dinner together and she shared her story, where she comes from and what makes her tick, and after our meal, we walked for miles in the rain. Details of the previous days and weeks poured out of me as the sky fell, her listening, laughing, loving me through the sopping mess of it all. And when we finally stopped, I knew I’d been in the presence of God that evening, His grace wrapping me up like an over-sized terrycloth towel, covering over a multitude of things.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8).

For months, she called me every afternoon, prayed for me, reminded me of those Words and gave me others, all the while waiting patiently for me to work it out. And, in time, I did.

Now, because of the way she profoundly demonstrated it, I not only better understand and experience the grace of God, I’m motivated to give it to others, too.

And it makes me want to pray:

Heavenly Father, thank you for these life-saving Words, and for those whom you’ve placed in my life to live out your definition of Grace.  Thank you for their acceptance and love which is a window into your heart. Thank you that the first and greatest commandment to love You is not about doing a bunch of hard things or following a long list of rules; it’s about receiving this gift. Help to me to seek it and accept it every day for the rest of my life, and as I do, I will be saved, strengthened and encouraged to give it to the rest of the world, thus fulfilling the second greatest commandment to love my neighbor as myself. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

 

Women in the Word

Comments

  1. Erin Richer says:

    This is beautiful. And again, I’m crying. Funny, I didn’t cry the first time I read it, but I’m crying tonight. Especially after having putting my experience of it all down into words. God is Mighty and complicated and magical!

  2. Erin Richer says:

    I re-read this tonight. My soul needed it. Thank you for your amazing way with words. I am so encouraged by you.

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