Philippians 3:12-14 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. (NLT)
Easter is all about grace, God giving us something we didn’t deserve. Jesus didn’t wait until we were perfect before he died on the cross. In fact, He died and rose again precisely for that reason, that we were in need of a way to escape the trap of sin.
Like Paul says in the passage above, we won’t be perfect until we get to heaven. But during this past Easter season, God taught me something about the importance of grace. Here’s how:
I had been frustrated with my husband because he seemed to be holding on to some old hurt and rejection. So I had a conversation with him in my head wherein I spoke Truth and helped him see the light, after which he apologized to both me and God.
(Don’t even try to tell me you’ve never had those kinds of conversations in your head.)
A few days later I was in the yard looking at some tulips coming up. I then walked over to another part of the yard and stopped by a stump. Years ago, in what I assume was one of my stepson’s manic episodes, he decided to “landscape” the yard while we were out of town.
He plopped this rather large but interesting looking stump right on top of a place where I had planted another bunch of tulips. I don’t know how he got it there, but there it sits to this day.
That stump became a symbol and a focus of my resentment about how his mental illness had become an intrusion into the life I thought I deserved.
Suddenly, I realized that what I disliked in my husband was alive and well in me.
Here is the grace part: How can I not release the anger and resentment from someone else’s past actions when God has already forgiven me of so much and promises to continue to forgive me?
So now I can look at the stump, not as something irritating, but as a picture of something so big in my life that I can’t in my own power deal with – my sin. Only Jesus can do that, and even more, He can turn that stump into “yard art” because it is all about grace.