Thursday, August 30, 2018

On Scrapes and Bruises and Other Life Lessons

This child. We’re trying REALLY hard to get past this stage of shouting, “I BROKE MY [insert body part here]!!!!” with every tumble and scrape. 

Bless it. 

Besides teaching basics skills like: “Deep breaths, my dear dramatic boy child. You will survive after all.” I am asking the Lord every day to help me teach other lessons. Life lessons like how we interact, forgive, love, and take in the world around us and those in it with the same grace and mercy extended to us. 

Here is a short list of life skills I pray my kids at least start to grasp, whether through my own floundering and fumbling example of what NOT to do (most likely scenario) or simply by God’s good grace,  before they stumble out on their own.

1- People are never the enemy. No matter how much it feels like it, people are never the target of what we are up against. Selfishness, pride, and limited worldview—to name a few—are the enemies. Once we can grasp that in our OWN hearts, we can start to perceive where the true target lies. Which leads me to the next skill....

2- Never assume. Oswald Chambers said, “Stop having a measuring rod for other people. There is always one fact more in every man’s case about which we know nothing.” Assuming is probably the worst thing we can do in any given situation. It does nothing productive. But if you must assume, assume love. Assume everyone is trying their hardest. And assume the role of helper, not judge. 

3) If someone says you’re doing it all wrong, listen. Maybe they’re right. You’re human and you’re one of billions who’ve trapsed through this thing called life. It’s possible you are, in fact, doing it wrong and you need to lift your eyes and humbly see that. And if you find they are wrong, only then boldly keep doing what you’re doing and do it with all your might. Let your actions prove them otherwise. But never be above criticism.

4) Never be more aware of some else’s insufficiencies than your own. Humans are messy and selfish and entitled. And you are one of them. Welcome to the fold. Oswald Chambers said, “I have never met the man I could despair of after discerning what lies in ME apart from the Grace of God.” Everyone sins differently. Maybe someone else’s sin is uglier or more apparent. Maybe yours is culturally condoned or hidden deep inside. Either way, the moment you point to someone else as worse than you apart from God’s grace, you have set foot on a dangerous path of pride and I promise that leads to nowhere good. 

5) Admit when you are wrong. Just do it. Even if it wasn’t intentional and even if no one else is taking responsibility for their own actions, be willing to say, “I messed up. I was wrong.” No one—and I mean NO ONE—wants to be around that person who can’t just say, “I was wrong.” So resolve to not be that guy. 

6) Give all the grace. Give grace to yourself when you mess up. Give grace to others when they mess up. Because er’body gonna mess up round here. It’s the literal story of humanity. That doesn’t mean you will always see relationships restored or even be forgiven by those you’ve hurt. It doesn’t mean you won’t continue to get hurt. But you can forgive and you can extend grace. And there is peace in that place. 

And finally...

7) Life’s not fair. I know, [insert eye roll here]. My mom used to say it when I was a kid, too. Turns out, it’s true. Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. We can work our butts off towards a goal, only to watch it blow up in our faces. We can give and serve and love and get stabbed in the back. So my only advice is this: live for an Audience of One. Live in such a way that circumstances and people don’t so much as make you bat an eye because you are so focused on one thing: Jesus. His mercies are new every day. His grace is sufficient. He looks at the heart. 

And in light of all that, I’m so glad that life isn’t fair because a “fair life” wouldn’t afford us any of those good gifts after all. 


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