+ Jesus = Grace
I think what I’m realizing more and more is that we all, and I do mean ALL, have a story to share. It doesn’t involve the white picket fence, dreams come true, Hallmark movie characteristics, but instead includes some sort of hurt, trauma, or darkness. It could be rooted in your childhood, tucked away in the dark corners of your mind, never to be found or shared. Maybe it’s public knowledge because you share or because others have shared for you. It could be a choice you made that haunts you. Maybe it’s your marriage or your journey into motherhood, finances or friendships, or a lack of those. Maybe it’s the family you were born into. I obviously don’t know, but what I do know is that we all have experienced hurt. And if we’ve all experienced hurt, we have the power within us to hurt others, intentionally, or more often than not, unintentionally.
I heard Sara Conner speak at a women’s event in October where she quoted Rick Warren saying, “Hurt people hurt people.” I’d never heard that until that moment, and a lot of things began clicking for me. It softened my heart and changed my perspective, and I realized then I only see things from my point-of-view.
Perspectives are shifted by our external factors: our focus, our emotional state, and everything we’re carrying on our daily plates. My father-in-law used to tell me all the time “Perception is reality.” Think about that: in short it’s saying, reality varies based on each one of our own perceptions because we all experience things differently.
If you add all of those little bits of wisdom together:
We’ve all experienced hurt + hurt people hurt people + perception is reality… it could basically be the equation for the perfect storm or fight. When we see things from our own eyes, we only see things from one perspective, which is our reality.
But, if we add to the equation, we can get something really beautiful:
We’ve all experienced hurt + hurt people hurt people + perception is reality + Jesus = Grace.
When we add Jesus to the equation, it allows us to take a step back, breathe in unhurried and gentle air and grace, and move forward in the forgiveness that’s already been extended to us. When we do this, we can move forward instead of staying stuck.
Some of us will be moving forward, forgiving ourselves. That thing you’ve been holding over your own head for days, weeks, months, years – Jesus said, “...It is finished! Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). Give it to Him. He’s got it covered. It doesn’t define you anymore. He does.
Some of us will be moving forward forgiving someone else. Those things that were said or done and felt really hurtful and intentional have held you down for too long. You can let go of it because Jesus said, “...It is finished! Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30 HCSB). You can give that hurt, anger, and tension to Him. Lay it at His feet. You don’t have to carry it anymore. He chooses to for you.
Some of us will be moving forward forgiving God. That thing you’re angry over and you feel like He caused or let happen or maybe didn’t let happen… it’s OK to let go. We serve a gentle God who doesn’t punish us. He doesn’t do things out of spite. “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 HCSB). Despite our circumstances, He’s safe. We will all suffer because of Adam and Eve’s decision to know good and evil. But in our suffering, God is with us. “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5 NIV). You can let go of that anger and let hope bloom there because Jesus said, “...It is finished! Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30 HCSB). Your story isn’t over yet. He's got it.
You see, “Hurt people hurt people” (Rick Warren). But Jesus… He forgives people in every state and condition. Therefore, we can also be givers of grace and walk away a little lighter today than we were yesterday.
My prayer for each of us, friends, comes from Romans 15:5-6, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Have a nice week.