“There is a war between guilt and GRACE!”
The other day, as I walked into our bedroom, I noticed these words written on the notepad next to the dual recliner where my WW sits. They come from the song by Matthew West, “GRACE WINS“
Lately, I’ve been pondering the effects of GRACE in my life. I’m beginning to realize that I have greatly undervalued what GRACE DID, what GRACE does, what God wants GRACE to do in, for and through me.
Matthew West continues his song with these words; “GRACE WINS!! Every Time!! For the woman at the well, GRACE WINS!! For the beggar on the street, GRACE WINS!! For the prodigal son, GRACE WINS!!“
This morning’s “Daily Verse” from “YouVersion” was Psalms 139:23,24
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” NLT
This morning, I’m saddened to think how many times I’ve prayed that from a place of guilt and shame, standing (or kneeling, as the case may be) before God but seeing him as my Judge. It makes me want to run away. Sometimes I do.
This is not the prayer of a guilty man waiting to hear sentence passed for his guilt and shame. It’s the Q posed by the prodigal son to his Faithful Father at the breakfast table the morning after the party as they enjoy steaks leftover from the fattened calf and eggs the servants gathered that morning from the free-range hens in the yard. (Luke 15:11-32)
It’s the Q from the heart of a recovering, wandering son who has once again been embraced by “Abba-Daddy”
Let me see if I can put this in my own words as I picture myself sitting at that table:
“Dad, I came back yesterday because I knew you are a man of compassion. All my life I’ve seen how you treat your servants. You’ve always treated the men and women who work for you better than most of my friends were treated by their fathers.
Last month, I remembered that about you. Someday, maybe I’ll tell you where I was and what I was doing when I remembered, but I think I’d rather just forget about it. But let me simply say that I woke up in the blackest, darkest hole of my life.
Then I remembered!
Dad, I came back to be your servant. I came back to sweep the dung out of your stables. I came back to clean the hen house on my hands and knees. I came back to…
NEVER in my wildest thoughts did I think I would come back and be your son!! I fully expected to grovel. I fully expected to spend the rest of my days trying to pay penance for the way I hurt you. But you… You!!! Dad, You put the family robe around my shoulders. You embraced me!! You put your ring on my finger. You brought out the finest wine, and Oh! Wow!! This steak…!!!
Dad, (by the way, it feels strange to call you ‘Dad’)… Let me take this moment to ask you, from the depth my heart, with all the gratitude I can manage; “Teach me. This morning, Dad, search my heart; test me and show me my hurtful ways. Daddy, I want to spend the rest my life letting you teach me how to be your son.”
THAT is the war between guilt and GRACE. The battle in my life between guilt and GRACE is fought at the gateway to the homestead. Because of my guilt, I hesitate to respond when He calls. The Father beckons me forward. I hesitate. The Father says: “Come, my son, all is ready. For you. I’ve been waiting. For you. Too often, I’ve turned away. In shame. “I’ve been watching every day. For you. But… I’ve done all can can do. For you. Unless you come home. The Choice is yours. I chose you, but I cannot make that choice FOR you.”
BECAUSE OF MY GRACE, THE DOOR IS WIDE OPEN FOR YOU, MY SON! COME HOME!!
Jon, I think that’s the lesson He’s been trying to show, to teach me. First of all, the doorway to His presence is His GRACE, and it’s ALWAYS open. Second, that He is WITH Us. He promises it SO MANY times. “NEVER will I leave you!”
Jim, that was really inspiring. I don’t always respond to your writing, but this one hits me hard! I wish I could always kneel in his Grace. Jon…