You just don’t know until it happens to you…

I was reflecting on something I was recently involved in and realized my perspective has changed, I have changed.

Confession, I’ve been judgmental. Not in the “why did he wear those pants with those shoes” way but in the “who would ever make that life choice” kind of way.

It’s the harshest kind of judgment. Looking at people who I do not know, walking in a kind of shoes I’ve never seen and thinking that I know what is best for them.

Friends, this is not only unloving and unkind, it’s prideful. Pride unchecked leads to death…

Psalm 101:5
Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy.
Whoever has a haughty look and and arrogant heart I will not endure.

And yet, thanks to grace, my perspective has changed. Oh sweet grace.

Grace just happens. And yet, how deeply we let it change our hearts is really up to us. We must move beyond accepting the idea of grace into the experience of grace.

Experiencing grace might just break your heart, it has mine.

I have stopped judging life choices made by others but it took an act of grace.

God put me in contact with people. With man, woman and teen. Being after being who had made a difficult, sometimes even poor, life choice. He begged me to love each person unconditionally and ask ‘why’. Why did you make that choice?

As I asked and listened with an open heart I heard story after story of heartbreak, despair and hurt. Choice made because it was the best of two bad choices, because it was made with as much information as was available however incomplete, choice made for the love of another suffering even deeper brokenness and despair.

And I saw Jesus. Saw him healing the sick, forgiving sins in the lives of the most sinful and eating and listening with the outcasts.

What Jesus understood that I needed to learn was that grace takes heart. Grace hears the hard story, cries with the broken and welcomes the outcast. Grace bears another’s burden.

And then, then grace offers hope. Hope is what happens when grace settles deeply in a soul.

It takes work, submission, discomfort…a willingness to stop judging and start intimately  listening to those who are different and distant from you. It is there that God works, grace shows her face and you go from believing that grace exists to experiencing it.

And then you will see the truth. That person, choice or lifestyle you’ve been judging from afar, it has a beating heart made in the image of the Creator. Their broken looks just like your broken.

We are all human. We are all broken. Who am I to judge your broken when I am already in a million pieces. Maybe my pieces seem less sharp or more manageable on the outside but broken is broken on the inside.

And grace is grace. The Grace that loves and heals my broken small shard by small shard wants NOTHING MORE than to love and heal your broken.

Psalm 34:18
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

SAVED! This is for me, for you, we are saved!

And now, now I see my broken. And I give grace freely and I speak hope often because I just didn’t know until it happened to me.

Will you let grace happen to you?

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