Do you ever beat yourself up?
When I was younger, I’m fairly sure I was an award-winning self-beater-uperer (that’s not a word, I know).
As a song leader, I was always determined to lead the congregation at my church in an inspiring time of worship. Often, when mistakes happened during a performance, I’d be livid with myself for not sorting it out earlier. I was far too hard on myself, and had little grace for small mistakes.
It turns out that I still do that from time to time. The other week I was chatting with a colleague about how I’d let myself down by getting annoyed with someone at work and saying something I regretted. His response was to remind me that I needed to show myself grace, and that Jesus came not only for the big issues, but also for the small things.
It floored me a bit because a) I hadn’t realised I was beating myself up again and b) he was right – I hadn’t shown grace to the person at work, and I wasn’t allowing myself to experience Christ’s grace. When it comes to grace, mainstream Christian culture is constantly reminding the world at large about Christ’s grace as redeemer, but it’s worth considering what that means. It’s not only about redemption for the next life – it’s about grace for the here and now, no matter how big or how small the issue.
When I think of the grace that’s been shown to me, especially in the small things, I find it too much to take in. There’s a part of me that’s so floored by God’s interest in the small details of my life because I naturally assume that certain things are either too big or too small to be in God’s sight. Thankfully that’s not the case, and I need to be willing to accept God’s grace for my mistakes and forgive myself. But there’s an important catch as well.
If I’m receiving such amazing grace that covers my every mistake, then it’s now on me to pass on that grace to others – whether that’s someone cutting me off on the Eastern Freeway (no, you can’t gracefully honk your horn and shake your fist) or a person at work not meeting my expectations. Whatever it may be, I need to show grace as I deal with the situation, because that’s the way Jesus played it, and that’s the call of the Gospel to us today.
As I sat at my kitchen table, reflecting on a grace so complete that it encompasses even my silliest mistakes, the final verse of the hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross come to mind. I find it sums up how I feel in light of Christ’s grace for every area of my life.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.