Finding Grace (For Yourself)

Erik Cooper —  April 19, 2012 — Leave a comment

Criticism is a native language for human beings. We learn to chuck stones straight from the womb. Some of us are more subtle. Some are full on connoisseurs. (Some of us are bloggers). All of us do it.

To each other.

Our politicians.

Our favorite sports teams.

That idiot columnist.

And perhaps most tragically, to ourselves.

As we journey forward in this life, we learn new things. We gain fresh perspective and uncover new understanding. By definition, that process starts to make us unsatisfied with where we’re at.

Critical.

And a healthy dissatisfaction can be the perfect prescription for change. To lose some weight. To be more vulnerable with our spouse. To start saving a few bucks. To enroll in college classes. To quit texting while driving (or flying airplanes).

But if we’re not careful, criticism can trigger shame and spiral us into the abyss of unworthiness and hopelessness. Of self-disdain that holds us captive instead of propelling us forward. Shame swallows grace.

To grow, mature, and transform, there must be periods of gut-wrenching and soul-searching. Where God shines his light into the darkest rooms of our soul. It’s uncomfortable. But that overwhelming sense that something is wrong might just mean something is very right.

Today’s revelation will always make yesterday’s response seem silly, stupid, and maybe even a little embarrassing. That’s normal. What you do with it from there will make all the difference.

Shame=Stagnant.

Repentance=Transformation.

So have a little grace today. For your noisy neighbor. That idiot weaving in and out of traffic. (I’m still asking God if politicians are optional). But maybe most importantly of all, find a little grace for yourself.

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