The Grace of Not Living Perfectly

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” ~Col 3:13-4

At 6:22am this morning, I sprinted into Ellie’s room thinking that she had overslept. As I stirred her awake, I said, “Ellie, wake up! You forgot to set your alarm, you overslept again.” Enjoying the last few minutes of solid peaceful sleep, she awoke greatly disturbed. Then she looked at me, looked at her clock, looked back at me and said, “Dad, I don’t have to wake up until 6:30.”

I slunk out of the room, realizing I had messed up and feeling bad for waking a peaceful child. While minor and inconsequential (and far better than the morning I awoke her, made her get dressed and served her breakfast before we both realized it was Saturday), I felt the sting of failure. As Ellie came downstairs, a bit groggy, I apologized profusely again, but she responded: “Dad, it’s alright, we all make mistakes. I forgive you.”

That morning, I was reminded that to experience GRACE we have to mess up.

Grace is receiving what we do not deserve.

In a far more dramatic fashion, when the people of God had messed up His creation He flooded the earth to get a hard restart of his creation. However, He saved Noah and his sons. Through this family, God restored the fallen world and offered humanity a new beginning. In verse 9:1, God gives Noah and his sons the same command he had given man and woman in Genesis 1: “Be fruitful and mutiply and fill the earth.”

God had remained faithful to us, even though we were not faithful to him. He did not totally abandon the world. He still gave His creative blessing…but this time Creation becomes grace: undeserved and unexpected.

By messing up, we discover that we are not able to live a perfectly. (Which is GOOD NEWS!)

By messing up, we are able to see that God has not given up on us.

By messing up, we discover that our lives do not hinge on our performance but on a restorative grace that washes away our sins.

We receive God’s grace in our life precisely because we mess up. Without messing up, then we think we deserve everything we get. But Grace changes everything. This means the times we mess up are not cataclysmic ends to a pathetic life, but moments of gracious restoration that motivate us to live into a new life.

Like Noah and his sons, we are able to experience unexpected and underserved love. We are able to forgive others and bind ourselves together through love.

Where have you messed up this week, and how might God want to show you grace?

Who is someone that needs to experience your undeserved love as a small sign of God’s grace in their life?

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