God sees not as man sees,
For man looks at the outward appearance,
But the LORD looks at the heart.
-1 Samuel 16:7
It had been a terrible week.
Everything that could go wrong, had. I was teetering on the edge of the precipice separating grace and a bug-eyed fit. Walking in grace had recently become more of a lurch lately as I struggled through a difficult relationship situation. As I replayed the perceived indignities I’d received at the hands of the perpetrator, the irritation inside me grew, urging me onward toward a “justifiable” confrontation. How good it would feel to take the plunge and have that bug-eyed fit!
God’s Spirit quietly counseled me otherwise. He urged me to extend grace to this person.
Frankly, I wanted to be mad.
As I drove down the city street simmering in the juices of my righteous indignation, I spotted a small, crooked figure limping down the sidewalk.
I honestly couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. A rumpled head of short, red hair crowned a twisted body clad in Bermuda shorts and a deep purple t-shirt.
The person obviously struggled with a handicap of some kind. I started to look away, still preoccupied. As I got closer, however, my dismissive attitude went down in flames.
Emblazoned on the front of the purple t-shirt in large white letters were these words:
THE GREATEST BATTLES
ARE THOSE WHICH ARE
An instant pang of regret shot through me.
How much like God to send such a humble messenger to remind me of my own cracked soul and how every struggle is really a battle for our hearts.
Man might be influenced by outward appearances, but God never is. That day I, the one more outwardly “together,” was the one truly flawed.
Which is more crippling, our inward or outward blemishes? Should not I, who need grace so much, be all the more eager to give it?
After all, isn’t grace a gift given to the undeserving? And wouldn’t the undeserving be…