Have you ever done something that, when up close, seems so right? But, when you step back you wonder how you can be so wrong?
If you would, travel back in time with me. To a memory I am sure is true, but now feels so much like a fever dream I question it.
My brother and I were young, very young at that. My mother has taken us to our grandfathers home, where to this day, our families still congregate and catch up. It is a quint, beautiful small home but due to the climate of its neighborhood, it may or may not require a privacy fence for the backyard.
This fence has always been there. That is, as long as I have been alive.
Saying this, think to something that has been in your life so long, you feel the urge to shake things up and break it. Could it be a rule at work? Perhaps sometime of eyesore that surrounds your home?
My brother and I saw a fence. A nice fence, with strikingly thin boards. For this portion of the story, I believe my brother initiated however, since I am the story teller I feel obligated to take the blame.
As we stood before this fence, an aggressor to our adventure, I raised my foot and kicked it. Following, we heard an exaggerated crack and my brother and I peered through the hole that remained. You would expect us to feel instant shame and back away from the fence. You know what? I would expect this too.
But being so close to the damage, we felt powerful. Adrenaline pulsed through our 60 and 80 pound frames; therefore, we got busy kicking in every board in sight. But as everything in life, there came the last board. We kicked it in and then stepped back from our masterpiece, sure it would get hung up in The Louvre.
Nonetheless, we felt no pride. The emotion we felt was fear. We were literally scared and we wanted to die. I could relate to Adam and Eve, who up close to the tree found satisfaction in eating the one fruit they were forbid. But then, their eyes were open and fear gripped them with a mighty squeeze.
So we discussed it and decided to go tell our papa so our execution could be swift. When he stepped on to the porch, he asked one question.
“Why would you do that?” To which we eloquently replied, “I don’t know.”
This situation also occurs Biblically. Whenever God addresses the sin of man, in so many words, the only responses humanity ever has is “I don’t know” or to deflect it all together.
Adam murmured these words, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10).
Cain tried to turn the question of murder on God stating, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9).
Many years later, the Apostle Paul wrote regarding the blinding of those closest to sin, the unbeliever. He writes in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
For the believer, we are positioned in grace. Yet sometimes our testimony causes second hand grieving. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:9, “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles lived a life that seemed so right up close. But at a distance, grieved him.
But like Paul, all must come to this next statement in verse 10.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am…” Let that sink in. Then continue reading.
“…and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
That is the answer. Three words. “And His grace.” Here we are, removed from the past. Only righteousness in our future by what Christ is imputing.
Up close it hurts. But now, step back and we see the words, “And His grace.” Grace, mercy, and peace are ours forever more as we are seated in Heavenly places.
Thank you for reading and God bless.