i read a quote the other day that i want to share with ya’ll.
the difference between mercy & grace?
mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance. grace gave him a feast.
i think back over the times in my life when someone has responded to me with mercy and how i felt forgiven. i felt all better. ready to pick up and move on.
but the times when someone has extended grace? well now that is a humbling place to be. grace leaves me shaking my head. feeling more comfortable in my remorse than in the place of grace. grace reaches out and finds us when we’re sitting in the corner of failure with our head down, covered and ashamed. grace sits down with us. doesn’t judge us. or shake it’s finger. it just wraps it’s arm around us & says its okay. its all okay.
recently i apologized for a joke made in poor taste. i was wrong and shouldn’t have said it. i thought i was being funny and honestly wouldn’t have thought another thing about it…until i received an email from the person whom i offended. ( see prior post or open hyperlink to follow along). her husband is indeed a convicted felon. he committed a crime when he was 17. he spent the next 18 years in prison. turns out he came to know the lord while he was incarcerated.
well of course he did.
because jesus came so that we may have life and have it fully. all of us have sin in our lives, but to him who has known in his heart …and for all the world to see…for all the world to see “that sin”-that man knows mercy. and that man clearly knows grace. he wears it like a soilder might wear a battle wound or a medal of honor. he wears it like the wrinkled and callused hands of a man who has labored all his life. that grace is a like a crown on his head…that he never felt worthy of wearing.
so back to the email. i was checking my emails from my iphone and as i read this i truly felt that nauseating feeling when your stomach drops and you know you have hurt someone. intentional. carelessly? it doesn’t really matter. the hurt is there. at the bottom of the email was this person’s stationary. you know like the information that autopopulates. well. i immediately clicked on her phone number. i explained who i was and offered no explanation other than i was very wrong. she graciously gave me mercy and very warmly offered grace on top of the mercy. i wept at the redlight. i came home and offered up an apology on social media. the same platform that i carelessly used to crack a joke.
within minutes i received a facebook friend request from her. and she told me she was honored to be my friend.
she forgave me. that was mercy. she told me she was honored to call me friend. that is grace.
i don’t tell you this to make me sound good. clearly. public humiliation and a public screw up is enough to remind me that i need HIM~every single day. and one of the amazing, i -can’t-wrap-my-mind-around-it things about jesus is he gives new mercies everyday. they’re just as new this morning as the sunrise that i’ll see in about an hour. whether i carelessly use the express lane with too many items. or forget to call a friend back or i make a comment that makes me look like the person i don’t want to be. there’s mercy and then He tops that with grace.
i felt HIM today after all this. i did. i felt HIM in my reader’s sweet gracefilled forgiveness. i felt HIM as i laid my head on my desk and cried…and then again when my silly friend called and shared with me how she screwed up too…and i felt HIM tell me not to be bound up feeling all warm and stale in my self-pity and yuckiness.
bound up in shackles of failures is a prison of my own.
my readers husband is no longer who he used to be. he still feels the sting of that title. but for each of us…it’s just the same. while i’m doubting many of us have a brick and mortar prison record, we can spend many days bound up in our chains. we have a new name. a new life. and we’re not the same. we are redeemed…we’ve been set free. and mercy & grace are right there to walk us away from those prison walls…and into the life He came and already paid the price for.
a while ago i posted about one of my all time favorite songs, redeemed by big daddy weave. i love the healing power that music provides. so i’m gonna do two things. one related to this post and one probably not so much. here’s redeemed for you. the lyrics are some of the most powerful i’ve ever heard and truly touch me each time i listen.
secondly. i ran across this video last week. being a lover of classic rock, i was blown away by ann & nancy wilson’s tribute to led zeppelin. i love watching robert plant being moved to tears. i love watching jimmy page literally beaming! so while this has nothing to do with grace & mercy it has everything to do with the power of music and this transcendent performance. enjoy.
and thank you for forgiving me and then for those of you who went above & beyond and met me where i was….and offered grace. you know who you are. and i love you.
and today, 9.11, i am forever grateful for the heroes , the countless heroes we have in America. for the countless heroes that gave their lives on this day and for the resiliency of our country. the land of the free. i am proud to be an American.
God bless America.