Thursday, September 10, 2009

So Then, How Are We Changed? - Grace Given

I have been back in the office more since the kids went back to school. Because of this I have been catching up on some podcasts.

I've listened to many of Darin Hufford's podcasts the past few days. I listen to him because Darin still has the ability to make me cringe and push me past my comfort zone. He and the gang that broadcasts with him, pokes and prods at my religiosity, constantly uncovering new ground that I have not thought of before. His book, "The Misunderstood God: The Lies Religion Tells About God," is ready to be released next month and I would encourage you to get a copy and read it.

The other day though he said something that I've chewed on ever since. (I'm not quoting him but just telling you what I heard.)

He said something to the effect that, "love received" is not what really changes us but - "love given" - does.

He went on to say that if we look around at people in our lives, we all can see that love given to a parent, friend, child, spouse or stranger is never a guarantee that that person will change. We all know of the wayward teen who has parents at home that love that child so much, or the wife who chooses to walk out the door with a husband behind that longs to have her back, or of the countless people in shelters who have someone reaching out to them with love and a hot meal. Yes, sometimes we see those people respond and change, but what Darin said is that it is interesting to him that when he sees someone love, when he sees a person decide to DO the loving, you always see change happen.

We are changed by giving love.

In my own life I can look back and just observe the times that I have changed the most radically. I see it as I review times such as marrying my husband and learning to give for probably the first time, having my first child and realizing that 'I' no longer existed and suddenly I had to decide on a life of service, or reading "Blue Like Jazz," a few years ago and understanding that I really did not love people like I should and then start to act on it, or the times I faced loving and standing with my grown children as they made decisions that broke my heart, or the times I faced choosing to give love and grace to those who may have hurt me

All of these times mark clearly, the times that I have seen a change in me. Times when the core of who I was was somehow softened and molded into what Jesus may have intended for me in the first place. They purged the selfish "me" and brought out a more grace-filled "me."

I suspect, in my musings about Grace lately, that Grace is just like this. I have understood, it with a head knowledge of God's Grace towards me. But was always frustrated that I did not see an equal amount of change in my life. Therefore, I wonder if I am really changed more by Grace given to me and then in return poured out on those around me than I am with just Grace received and not given away. It sure seems that way.

I suspect that Grace truly becomes alive in us and may actually change our hearts as it is being given out to someone else and not by just having the head knowledge that we have received it. How many times have we given Grace and withheld judgment towards someone and find that something deep inside our hearts has been purged? How many times do we, with gritted teeth, choose to forgive and give Grace and then find that something in our heart has been softened by the very act?

And isn't that just like the Gospel to have us dispense what has been given to us? Hmmm, maybe there is something to that verse that it is better to give than receive!

Just something I'm thinking about this morning. What about you. Have you seen a change in yourselves as Grace was given to you or as you gave it? Stories, please, if you have them!

1 comment:

Rich said...


Simply delicious hearing and seeing the inner workings of His heart of love doing what it does best, transforming us, as the motto goes from the actual Transformers, “More than meets the eyes.”

Yes MORE than meets, registers with us, His amazing is a given with me, grace is synonymous with love, life, you can’t touch one thing without being enveloped with them All!

Almost everything we have know regarding where we entered into the realm of His family through the portal off grace revolved around what we saw, thought we understood within the scriptures, but, as my wife loves to say, the scriptures are but a ‘reporting’ of the facts, there is by and large No commentary, or dialog.

Through His grace, love, life we have been invited into so much more than a one, two or three dimensional encounter, grace has opened up a forth dimension for us…” and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, to the power that works within us.”

I wrote a piece on one of my blogs the other day (Are You Ready-And then Life happened) that might relate to your question/s: What about you. Have you seen a change in yourselves as Grace was given to you or as you gave it? Stories, please, if you have them!