We’ve been forgiven, so we forgive.
We’ve been loved, so we love.
We’ve been freely accepted, so we accept others freely.
We’ve been given mercy, so we are merciful.
We have escaped judgment, so we do not judge.
We’ve been welcomed in, so we welcome all.
The door was opened for us, so we left it open to others.
We are different people from what we were;
We are Grace Turned Outward.
My wife pointed out to me yesterday that we don’t always forgive; we don’t always love; we don’t always accept others freely; we aren’t always merciful; we often judge; we are not always welcoming; and we sometimes close the door behind us because we don’t want to let just anybody in. I realized what I had created in this list was the ideal — the perfect. I should have mentioned that.
I also should have mentioned that we can’t pull off any of this on our own without the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that changes our hearts and overcomes in us, the tendency we have in ourselves to manifest the opposite of these attitudes.
I also find this list a sort of test of whether I have understood and received any of these things myself. For instance, if I can’t forgive, I am most likely not believing my own forgiveness. I am still trying to pay for my sins so I must make others pay. If I can’t be merciful, I’m not believing God’s mercy towards me. If I can’t love, it’s a sure sign that I am not believing I am loved. I am not accepting God’s love for me; I am still trying to earn it.
It is, all in all, a truly humbling thing. We come to the Lord with nothing but our sin. We do what any man or woman does when face to face with the holiness of God — we fall on our face before Him. And what does He do? He forgives us, accepts us, loves us, shows us mercy, welcomes us, and doesn’t judge us. What can we do but receive these incredible gifts? And in receiving them, believe them. And through the Holy Spirit in us who teaches us all things, and empowers us to believe, we turn all these gifts outward to those around us. We become Grace Turned Outward.
This is not a process. We either step into it or out of it. The choice is always there.