I am more...
than what I look like
than what I say
than what I'm good at
than what I like
than what roles and titles I have

I am more...
than what I think about
than what I dream about
than what I know
than what I believe

I am more...
than what I have done
than what I can do
than what I want to do
than what I will do

I am more...
than how fast I run
than how strong I am
than how high I jump
than how smart I am

I am more...
than the successes I had
than the people I love
than the money I have
than the smile I wear

I am more...
than the mistakes I made
than the people I have wronged
than the money I lost
than the scars I wear 

I am more...
than where I've been
than where I am
than where I'm going

I am more...
than when I was born
than when I will die

I am more than who others think I am.

I am more.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

- GraceGuy
 
 
It's taken me some time to realize that some concepts are not related to others. I would find it easy to love those who loved me back, to believe in what I can touch, to hope when all evidences point to a certainty, to be happy when everything goes my way and to feel graced when I worked hard at doing good around me.

All lies. All illusions. All smoke and mirrors.

When I put my ego aside a moment, I discover that:

'Love has nothing to do with what I feel or others' love towards me
Faith has nothing to do with what I see
Knowledge has nothing to do with my reasoning
Hope has nothing to do with hard data
Joy has nothing to do with my circumstances
Grace has nothing to do with my deeds'

This reminds me of what I wrote earlier:

'Riches have nothing to do with what I own
Wisdom has nothing to do with what I know
Salvation has nothing to do with what I do
Freedom has nothing to do with what I choose
Glory has nothing to do with how others see me
Food has nothing to do with what I eat or drink
Value has nothing to do with my accomplishments
Beauty has nothing to do with what I see
Strength has nothing to do with what I can bear
Pleasure has nothing to do with me
Power has nothing to do with what I control'

Ouch.
 
 
When I let the circumstances dictate my joy...
When I feel lonely in a crowd...

When I am right and others are wrong...
When I am wrong and others are right...

When I feel I am better than others...
When I am too weak to go on...

When I rebuke and discipline those under my authority...
When I lose patience with the ones I love...

When I take for granted the blessings around me...
When I fail again in my weakness...

When I let past mistakes and hurts poison my present...
When I let worries and doubts creep into today...

When I get caught up in trying to fulfill my own needs...
When I forget the importance of meeting others' needs...

When I am drowning in myself
When my flights are fueled by my ego

When guilt clouds my outlook
When forgiveness seems impossible to give

When I pursue vain accomplishments...
When I don't have time for those who matter...

When I neglect to spend time with my Creator...
When I forget what my Savior has done...
When I choose to stray from my Lord's plan...

... I need Grace.
 
 
Once in a very rare blue moon, a story comes along that takes my breath away, pulls out the tears hidden deep in my ducts and rips my attention away from everything else. In return, the story gives back an undying admiration to the graceful choices made, the inspiration to live courageously and a fresh perspective on 'sweating my small stuff'. 

But beyond the touching story, beyond the singing talent, beyond the courage to go on stage, I am in awe of the mother's compassion, mercy and grace. Moira Kelly chose to care for and raise abandoned and disabled brothers she found at an orphanage.

I can't help but see this as an example of God's Grace towards me. I was crippled by my sin, helpless and abandoned in a shoebox without hope and facing certain death. He reached down, through Christ,  to find me, to take care of me, to love me, to guide me and to give an eternal hope for an eternal home.

Enjoy the blue moon.
 
 
At this point, after having exposed Grace, Jesus shifts gears and makes the conversation personal. His goal is to demonstrate her need for the gift of Grace he was talking about, without making her feel the shame and rebuke society has placed on her.

It is VERY important to note that Jesus knows her. He knows her life, her thoughts, her feelings, her past, her sins, her insecurities and her fears. He had the  'advantage' of being God and being able to see her heart. For us to attain that level of intimacy with the people we are talking to requires an enormous amount of listening, asking questions and showing genuine care for their lives.

It is by listening and caring for others that will bring them to listen and care about what we have to say. Not the other way around. We cannot expect people to listen to us just because we have the Bible. The pill of Truth cannot be swallowed without the water of Grace. 

Jesus, the three-times holy God, was speaking with a six-times sinful woman by a well. Knowing the depth of her depravity, there are so many statements He could have uttered to her at that point. 

He could have said:
  • Do you not know who I am ? I am perfect ! and you most certainly are not.
  • Do you know how many times I have watched you sin ? how many times you have hurt me ?
  • How could you have done all you did ?
  • How could you look at yourself in the mirror ?
  • Aren't you ashamed of yourself ?
  • Don't you see what you've become ?
  • Don't you see how others see you ?
  • Don't you realize the sin you are in ?
  • Didn't you know that sexual sins is the worst kind of sin ?
  • Don't you think you deserve the social rebuking done to you ?
  • Five husbands ? That's disgusting !
  • You're living with someone who isn't your husband now ? In sin ?
  • How can anyone ever love you again ?
  • Don't you know what the Law says about you ?
  • What would 'your father' Jacob say if he saw you now ?
  • You know someone like me shouldn't be talking to someone like you right ? I'm doing you a favor!
  • You know you are going to hell right ?
Sound familiar ? Those judgments leave our lips and or enter our ears far too often.

Amazingly and against all expectations, he doesn't say anything remotely close to that.

John 4:16: Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 
18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” 

What just happened ?

He makes a request knowing well what her state is. She answers back, truthfully I might add, probably looking at the ground in shame. Then Jesus does something remarkable. He states the fullness of her sin and then... stops!

He doesn't go into a long tirade about the gravity of the sin, about the depth of her depravity or about the guilt she should be feeling. He could have done so, He is God! Rather, He states it as it is and then changes the subject to talk about worship.

Jesus demonstrates that there is a line where it becomes important to stop when diving into the past. He does not shy away, belittle or bury the sin. That's Truth. He addresses it and shows her that the gift is for her... and then moves on to her other concerns. 

That's Grace.
 

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