It is confession time.
I went to the gym this morning and then promptly came home and decided to live dangerously and totally negate my morning workout by eating a big ole spoonful (okay, two) of raw cookie dough, even though the packaging clearly states not to do it. Ooooh, living on the edge!
You should also know that I talk to other drivers when I am driving. Other drivers in other cars. Yes, I realize that they cannot hear me. (Emma is good at reminding me of that fact.)
I ask them (kinda loudly) what the heck are they doing?! I tell them to pick a lane. I suggest that they get off my road. I demand that they go at least the speed limit. (Is is really too much to ask??) I am especially annoyed by the drivers who refuse to speed up on the off ramp as they are merging onto the highway. In the past, I have discussed the fun I have at the four-way stops here in my state. I also tell other drivers that I am going to “chop” them, while making a chopping motion with my hand, which is code for “You don’t know it, but I am totally flipping you off right now.” (Thanks, Mom, for giving me that one to use. You are so busted!) And I have been known to drop a choice word or two on them occasionally.
I’m just being for real here.
I think it’s fair to say that I have an issue that needs some work.
Okay, I have a lot of issues that need some work. But hey, don’t we all??
I am not perfect. I don’t claim to have it all together. I have done things I am not proud of. I behave badly at times. And there are lots of other things I won’t confess to…here, anyway.
I am a Christian. And I screw up on a daily basis. Ask my husband and my kids.
I realize that there are people in this world who are looking for me to screw up—who are looking for professing Christians to screw up—so they can say, “See, I knew you weren’t really a Christian.”
They won’t have to look too long or too hard if that is what they are basing my Christianity upon, because in my human-ness, I am going to screw up. And if that is all Christianity is—not screwing up, being “good”, behaving a certain way so that other people can judge that I am a “good Christian”—then what is the point? It just becomes a bunch of rules. Being a Christian is not about rules; it is about the heart.
In my heart, I want to do better—I don’t want to curse at the other drivers on my the road, or my trash can after I’ve run it over because it got left at the end of my driveway. I pray each day for God’s help to be the woman He wants me to be.
But it is out of love for Him and gratitude for what He has done for me, that I want to love more, give more and do more—for Him. I don’t want to just do good things or be a good person because some people think that is what Christianity is.
What I want more than to be a “good person,” though, is to know God more and be more like Him. It is out of that loving relationship that good works, good attitudes, will come. Not the other way around.
Love. Mercy. Grace. Relationship. Good stuff.
There is nothing I can do to be good enough for God. I can only rely on the fact that God loved me first and saved me by grace. His gift of grace. And it is His mercy alone that allows me live another day.
And boy, am I thankful, because, I am pretty sure I will continue to just stink things up—trust me, I can be a hot mess. Only Jesus is good enough, was good enough, to redeem all my mess. Nothing other than my faith in Him and His willing sacrifice for me, makes me acceptable to God.
And so, we all find ourselves in desperate need of mercy and grace.
You. Me. Everyone.
The man who was rude to you in the grocery store check out. The cheeky teenager who stole your space in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The frazzled mom who was yelling at her kid inside the Wal-Mart. The smarmy politician. The drug addicted prostitute. The kid down the street who hurt my kid. The murderer on death row.
And me. Because I am no better.
God has mercy and grace available for them, for you, and for me. And if God can withhold judgment from me and pour out kindness on me that I do not deserve, then I need to work a little harder to pour that out on others as well.
And I do have to work at it. Somehow, for some reason, it seems really hard to withhold judgment and pour out kindness while I am driving. Why is that?? But I’m working on it and praying that I can screw up less (not just in the driving department!) and love Him—and everyone else—more. I want my kids, and those on the outside looking in, to see and know that even though I am a screw up, God still loves me and gives me grace and mercy. And that same love and grace and mercy can be theirs too.
21 Yet there is one ray of hope: 22 His compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day. Lamentations 3:21-23, Living Bible