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Yesterday (Sunday), I listened to a message entitled ‘enough’. It spoke of a culture that seeks fulfillment in the physical accumulation of more and more stuff. Although I had never thought of it, we place our hopes and dreams in things that will ultimately end up in a landfill.
It was a message designed to motivate, at a time when most churches are looking for financial commitment. The minister spoke of tithing and ways of getting by on less. The ultimate question asked again and again, ‘how much is enough’…….
I was reminded of a conversation with my sister a few years back when we talked about all we had, and how it was nothing more than on loan from a greater power. How many cell phones do we need? How big does a TV need to be in order to be enough?
Later, I was thinking back on this word – ‘enough’ and found it ironic that we live in a society that never seems to get enough, but has no concept of ‘enough’ as it relates to investment in those things we cannot hold anyway. I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about love, forgiveness, compassion, and time. When we consciously give these, we find the greater wealth returned to us. Love should always result in more love; compassion, more compassion; and forgiveness, room for more.
“He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
When I wrote this on Sunday afternoon, I had no idea how the week might unravel, and yet last night as I reflected, all things seem to connect through this, to this notion of more.
I love the idea of grace and although Mr. Webster might describe it differently, I think of it as love undeserved. When someone says, “I love you”, it is the ‘more’ that matters – not that I love you more than you love me, but that I love you more than you might have felt you deserved. That’s grace, and it is (in my opinion) the divine within us. Certainly, life would be less messy if God had asked us simply to love those just like us, those who deserve it, those who make it easy.
We are better, or at least I believe we are.
And there’s that word – believe. There are the things I believe and the things I know.
We are warned time and again about judging others, and yet we do it. Everyone does it. I do it, because inherently, I feel an urge to judge those who judge. Twisted, I know! I try, but it is difficult not to. But judging is razor’s edge. It is not just about forming an opinion based on information or facts (or a lack of either). It’s about denying love, forgiveness and compassion based on our own ideas of whether or not someone deserves it. It is the thing that keeps love from being ‘more’. It keeps love from being grace (and it is surely by grace, we are saved).
Silly me, but I would argue that it’s not really love if it comes with the condition of being deserved. As Lyle Lovett penned it so well –
And who keeps on loving you
When you’ve been lying
Saying things ain’t what they seem
But I don’t
But I won’t
And that’s the difference
Between God and me
I don’t always get it right, but that’s okay. In my bones, I believe we are asked (blessed) to make a habit of giving ‘more’, of being ‘more’, of forgiving ‘more’. When I think of judgment, I think of something I once heard. God created us in His image, and in return (out of some crazy reasoning), we create Him in ours. We assume our logic of what is lovable and forgivable is the same as His.
I thank Him every day that it’s not.
When I fail to love, that isn’t about deserving. That isn’t even about the person I’m withholding my love and forgiveness from. It’s about me. When my life is over, I will not be asked what I kept for myself, but rather what I gave away. In giving of grace, I am hopeful to receive the same. I don’t know about you, but I was kinda counting on a little divine grace.
What I believe – a sweeter life awaits beyond what we could earn, beyond what we deserve.
What I know – we don’t have to wait.
of what I give away
the last I knew
of debts I can’t repay
but let not
there be another
would wander to a place
are not yet opened –
love is not yet grace
break my heart again (again)
that I might learn to heal
that I might live
beyond this life
another truth revealed
might I gather –
along the road
and carry not their burden
to my soul
. . .