Receiving grace pre-supposes that I understand that I might have some issues, but that whole “admitting I’m a sinner” thing has some limitations. After all, the Pharisees did that. If they hadn’t, that woman would have been buried under a pile of rocks. Their big transgression was not treating the woman as a less-than-human prop for their object lesson. Their big mistake was leaving the room. They were willing to admit their failings, but not to accept the remedy.
see, i like to write off the pharisee, judge them as beyond forgiveness because of their hypocrisy and judgemental attitude. i want to pigeon hole them and say that they are not going to receive god's grace because they 'don't need it'. but christy's post showed me that if they stay, they deserve grace as much as i. i don't like that. it doesn't seem just. i only want broken people to receive grace (and yes i know that it means that that pharisee would be starting to see his brokenness by staying) - i've been too hurt by pharisees in my life. i want them to be as far from the grace of god as they show themselves to be.
i don't know that i'm making sense, but i'm trying to grapple with my own judgemental attitude toward those who are judgemental. it's showing a place in my heart that i really despise. it's showing me that i am truly no better than they are.
i awoke to an amazing comment (not that they aren't all amazing, this one was just exactly what i needed to hear to begin to process this) from the pirate knight, tim in response to my pissy post of yesterday:
That rage is part of who you are. But it is not all of who you are. I love the way you identify with people who are hurting. It is only a slight shift, then, to see the hurt in the "self-appointed defenders of The Truth" people. I can picture you offering them sorrow over the state of their heart, that they could say such things. True, it is easier to offer sorrow to those who acknowledge their hurt. It is a gentle shift from that to also offering sorrow to those who act out of their hurt.
oh how i wish that were true about me. that i sorrowed over the state of the pharisee heart. i don't. i hate that state. it has caused nothing but grief and death in my life and in the lives of many i love. i am weeping with a depth of emotion that shows how very black my own heart really is. the level of hatred for them in my own heart is being exposed and i'm not so sure that i want to let it go. it feels just, it feels right, it feels safe. but i know i must. sorrowing over the state of their hearts is truly showing the state of my own. and it is ugly.
it doesn't feel like a 'slight shift' by any means - it feels like the plates of the earth realigning. offering grace to those who stand in judgement of my life, who look down their noses at me, to set aside my 'righteous anger' and love them, and see them as the image bearers they are. it feels impossible. my righteous anger is one of those blankets i wrap myself up in to keep me safe. 'you can judge me, but i know jesus didn't like people like you any more than i do' i'd think.
an illustration of what i saw yesterday was like people performing at a club, a singer, band or comedian, really getting up there, doing the work, and some drunk heckler stealing the show and making it all about them. instead of the person who's really putting it 'out there' and doing the work. just to sit back and criticise is so easy, it's so simple. but try getting up there yourself, see how really hard it is to do the work. it's the people who are doing the 'work', writing the books, blogging the thoughts, creating the community who become the easy targets for these hecklers, and yesterday i had had enough. mama bear became the bouncer i always longed to be.
they just heckle with the voice of every intolerant, hateful, self righteous person from my past. my therapist introduced a thought into our marriage that has helped liam and i to understand more fully where the level of emotion is really being directed. she said to imagine that liam's mother or father is standing behind me as he emotes to me - he's really feeling the deep level of emotion toward them, and not me, but i'm the one who's 'here'. there were many people standing behind those hecklers yesterday. they were speaking with the voice of those who i have a lot of unfinished business with, those to whom i've been harboring a lot of self righteous anger.
that's why i need to deal with these emotions. that's why it's so intense. i blasted a poor bystander in the wake of my anger on cooper's blog yesterday too. (for which i have repented and apologized...)
my heart is black. i am no better than they. i need to release these rocks that i've been stuffing in every loose pocket or fold of my clothes. god help me.