First Steps – November 14, 2022

If Mercy is God’s infinite and inexhaustible energy to be compassionate, then Grace is the manifestation of that compassion for human beings.

I’ve been thinking about God’s grace and why one might resist it. For many, the stumbling block isn’t due to utter depravity or evil, though that can be a reason why, but because that level of love is beyond comprehension. In my finite mind, I like to think I can get my mental arms around the concept, but in full honesty, I can’t. The fact that one, in the face of innocence and then crucifixion, could forgive the very people that are crucified is overwhelming. Frankly, I’m undone by it all.

To forgive is a free act by one person to release another person of his/her actions. I like how C.S. Lewis describes it:
“I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality asking Him to do something quite different.  I am asking Him not to forgive me but to excuse me.  But there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing.  Forgiveness says, ‘yes, you have done this thing…I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.’  But excusing says, ‘I see that you couldn’t help it or didn’t mean it, you weren’t really to blame’… Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the [person] who has done it.”

The receiver of that free act is nothing more than a simple receiver. This wonderful gift in its fullness, rawness, and untainted, is humbling. I am a receiver of one’s infinite compassion.  That gift is called grace!  

 This Week’s Readings:
*Monday – 1 John 5
*Tuesday – 2 John
*Wednesday – 3 John
*Thursday – Revelation 1
*Friday – Revelation 2

Prayer Requests:
*Teachers, students, and parents coping with anxiety.
*Heal those who are sick and protect those who are not.
*Comfort those who are grieving and in distress.
*Wisdom for our leaders as they navigate through uncertain times.
*Guidance for those seeking to find their way.
*Continued Growth Inside and Outside the Walls of St. Paul UMC.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.” – Philippians 4:6