graceful justice.

I’m on this love kick lately.  {if you hadn’t already noticed...}  I just can’t help it though!  I have seen how powerful love is and I am learning {even in this short month and a half of seminary} how love is truly the center of what it means to follow Jesus.  More than that, everything in this world was made out of love, made to love and restored by love.  Love is who we are, and it’s how we’re supposed to live.  Even God himself says that he will, lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands {deuteronomy 5:10} God has a love relationship with us and expects us to have that same relationship with others.

On my tumblr, I asked my followers what topics they would want to see addressed on my blog.  I wanted to know what that they are struggling with or what they are going through in their own lives.  One of the responses I received was a question about friendship.  It was more than just how to have Godly friendships, but how do we have a Godly response to our friends when they have wronged us {trying to avoid being passive-aggressive about the situation}.  I think the answer lies in love. {of course!}

One of the greatest characteristics of love is grace.  Unconditional and unrelenting grace.  

Grace isn’t about just being a pushover in our relationships. {as a lot of people seem to think…} Grace certainly isn’t about being a doormat.  Jesus himself wasn’t a doormat, and he doesn’t want us to be one either! 

 Grace is about being the better person, to have confident humility to overcome the wrongs that have been done to us and to allow complete forgiveness to wash over the “wronger” and the “wrongee” {those definitely aren’t words, but it works}.

From my own life I have experienced both ends of a friendship; being hurt by my friends and at times hurting them as well {we are all human and we all make mistakes, especially with the ones who are closest to us}.  The most important thing I have learned is that focusing on arguments, disagreements and offenses only leads to more strife.  What makes the biggest difference, what makes positive forward motion, is grace.

One of the most common misconceptions is that grace in friendships {and family…and coworkers…and everyone else on this planet for that matter!} means that we are to just let people walk all over us. {for more on that visit rollover}  With that misconception we don’t know how to address people or situations with our hurts and issues in a Godly manner because we ultimately feel like by saying anything we are doing the wrong thing! {has anyone been here?? or is it just me?}  

The Bible commands us “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” {micah 6:8}.  

This is the answer for our response.  We are to walk humbly with God in love, mercy and justice.  We should respond to hurtful situations {with friends… family… or anyone…} with bold obedience to God where we hand over control of our situation to him. {Charles Spurgeon says, “humility belongs to the highest form of character”…how about that for some wisdom…}  Only God can diffuse situations, only God can change peoples hearts, only God can carry out justice where justice is due {not vengeance…but justice.  As Joyce Meyer says, “Our God is a God of justice.  That means that God makes wrong things right.  It may not come in your timing, but it will come.”}  So if he is the only one that can truly control the situation, we need to stop trying to play God and simply let him be God.

Our job then is to walk along side God as he changes hearts, opens people’s eyes and paves the way for peace.  We are to act in unconditional love, to say our peace {not yell our peace, or manipulate people to force our peace…as we ladies often do} at the right time and in the right place. {please re-read those last 9 words over again}  What is the right time and place, with the right peace filled words?  That’s up to God to direct.  That’s why we are called to walk humbly with our God“.  We are to be in communion and communication with our Lord, seeking God’s will about the situation and how he desires for us to carry out reconciliation.   No matter what he directs us to say or do, we can be sure that grace will cover it all.

Life is too short to live with pent up feelings of hatred, pain, anger and frustration.  Speaking from my own relationships, I see how God has changed hearts in the midst of a painful situation, I can see how God took control of everyone’s life {including the “wronger” and the “wrongee”} and literally formed from rubble and ash a road for peace.  My responsibility in those situations was to walk confidently {knowing that God was God, who is all powerful, would reconcile healthy relationships} to allow forgiveness, mercy and love to cover all of my words and actions.  {trust me, I have not mastered this..at all!  But as I go through life I learn these lessons, and learn how to be more like my Jesus}

We are all going to make mistakes at some point in our lives.  We are all going to {hopefully unintentionally} hurt people and we are all {unfortunately} going be hurt by others.  What I can say is that grace is our response.  Always and forever.  It is not our job to change people’s minds or hearts or to always be the one who brings justice to the situation.  It is our job to walk alongside God, hearing from him his wisdom and guidance about our relationships, and always living, speaking and acting with love and forgiveness.

God grants us grace everyday.  We should be doing the same thing for others. 

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