Our intimate journey with Christ is full of Him expressing and exposing more of his grace in our everyday lives. I was speaking with a friend who shared a very violent past. Parents that made some horrible choices that caused a lot of determent to this person as a child and as a middle-aged adult, years of dysfunction, seemingly has paralyzed as though left trapped in the past. The person began to share their flaws and paused because I seemed undaunted by their issues. Then stated, you aren’t going to beat me up, correct me, tell me how horrible of a Christian I am. My reply, I need God’s grace and you need God’s grace. I am not about throwing you away yet building you up through Christ. What you are sharing with me is that you, as I and as we all, have mismanaged some areas in life. We are all guilty of mismanaging relationships, finances, time, thought patterns, obedience, and so forth. When we understand Jesus, his grace, and his love for us we move from behavior modification to being transformed and free indeed. Those areas of struggle become less and less. We begin to have a heart change and our minds begin to change, that is what repentance is. If I beat you up, tell you how much of a mess you are, and magnify your struggles that only brings more shame and the “hamster wheel” happens – just repeating a cycle.
I have been in my word sharing examples of two people (Peter and Judas Iscariot) that mismanaged their relationship. Also, allow me to also share about an amazing woman who came to Jesus, Mary Magdalene. Peter and Judas had walked with Jesus. Here was grace staring them in their face daily. Jesus gave them access to him and provided repeated grace to both to repent. There are threads of scripture where we see Jesus bringing their flaws and areas of weakness to their attention as He extended grace as an opportunity for correction. Peter had bouts of rage, pride, and is known as the disciple that cursed. John18:10-11 Peter drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest,
When Mary Magdalene came to worship at the feet of Jesus, it was Judas Iscariot, the thief, who questioned “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” John 12:5 Judas, the thieving treasurer who would betray Jesus, was not concerned about the poor yet exposed that his heart was out of sync with Jesus and the heart of His will and purpose. Here was Mary Magdalene transformed from off the streets by Jesus and had come to show her reverential worship towards the grace she received and was preparing Jesus for his burial so that we all could receive grace. Matthew 26:12 & John 12:7 She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. Jesus acknowledge that Mary Magdalene had a mind and heart transformation while Judas remained self-centered and greedy. Mary Magdalene understood she would be scoffed and snubbed at yet worshiping Jesus her true concern. Sure, the negative talk came about her presence, yet her changed lifestyle of worship was also a testament of her graceful transformation. Scripture states, if I be lifted up I will draw all men. Her worship, undoubtedly lifted Christ and people had to acknowledge the anointing had destroyed every yoke in her life. Unlike Peter’s denial of Jesus, Mary Magdalene had been converted and strengthened that denying Christ was not an option.
Peter betrayed Jesus yet when Jesus rose from the dead he called out to Peter and the disciples and called them friends. John 21:5″ He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” John 21:7 7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. In the same chapter, we witness Jesus pouring grace on Peter and asking him to feed His sheep. John 21: 15-25
Judas betrayed Jesus yet further mismanaging his life and not embracing grace his pride further compacted his plight. His unwillingness to move from regret (we know he regretted betraying Christ because he tried to give the money back to the high priest and elders whom he sold Jesus out for) Matthew 27:3. He tried to master his sin issues, flaws, and yes, his regret, in himself. He eventually died by his own hand.
When we accept grace, we have life and life more abundantly and when try to do things within ourselves we die by our own hands.