Grace

The last few weeks have been some of the most intensive thinking weeks I’ve had in a long time. I’m working trying to understand some problems and challenges and then trying to figure out the best path forward given those challenges. During these times, I’ve had many important and deep conversations with some colleagues as we’ve talked through these challenges and how to best move forward.

During these discussions, and some side discussions, I’ve been repeatedly reminded about how so many of us tend to think we are right in our viewpoints, directions, and opinions and anyone thinking differently is wrong. Of course we are right, we’ve considered all the facts and made a decision and it fits our worldview perfectly. Plus we are invested in that viewpoint and the idea of us being wrong is nearly inconceivable. Furthermore, the other person and viewpoint are evil.

There is a passage in the wisdom literature of the Old Testament that I’m mindful of these days where in Micah 6:8 where it says:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly

This simple passage in Micah says so much to me.

I’m so tired of people who do not extend the “benefit of doubt” towards others on matters where they have no real understanding. People are critical of things via sms or email across hundreds of miles when they weren’t there to see what they are complaining about. Where is walking humbly? Where is loving mercy? Where is trusting the people you know there at the scene?

I’m tired of people who can not extend grace to others.

Everything in Washington (and on Twitter/Facebook) is black and white and the other person is evil and wrong and should be smashed and obliterated. Where is listening and trying to understand? Where is walking humbly in your thinking?

I’m tired of people who are not invested in a solution, being critical of those who are trying to do the right thing. If you are not willing to be in the arena, then you don’t get a vote.

On April 23, 1910 Theodore Roosevelt said the following famous lines:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Life is hard people. Be kind, for you do not know what battles others are fighting. Let’s learn to listen and try to understand first, second and third.

One day you might need grace from someone. One day you might need someone to listen to you.

May Love Become Light In The Darkness Of Your Grief

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My friend Silas Shotwell does a newsletter about his ministry work. His October newsletter was a reflection on the loss of his wife 15 years earlier and some other losses in his life and the resulting grief. Late in the writing, he says the following:

… and deep-seated grief is the result. I have love, with no place for it to go.

But now back to what I said earlier.

The best way to deal with grief is to give love some place to go! … So I would say to any of you that are suffering loss, and struggling with grief: Love with word, with deed, and with action.

Love others so fiercely that your love is spent, so your chests are no longer hollow, and the lump in your throat hurts a little less.

Love those around you that are hurting most, who have lost the most, and then love them even harder.

Because the truth about grief is that it never leaves!

It lasts as long as love lasts—forever.

Kathy Parker  says: “May love become light in the darkness of your grief.”

That means a lot to me.

So I say, along with her: “My love, thoughts, and prayers are with those at this time, who have suffered a loss beyond comprehension. I don’t understand, I will never understand. But I know our hearts unite in love for those who have lost so much. May you know that you are not alone!

Very well said and worth some reflection.

I hope you and yours are well.