I was sitting in the morning sun sipping my cuppa Joe when a phrase popped into my head, “…falling from grace.” It’s kind of a catch phrase. I have no idea why it gained clarity in the minutia of morning thoughts my brain likes to supply after a night of quiet, but I decided to take a look at it. This is the summation of my contemplation.
Falling from grace is often associated with religion. I’m not a fan of religion in association with my faith, because they simply do not sinc. I do not consider religion to be in any way correlative to the walk I am on with my Yeshua (The Rescuer). I do, however, do things religiously. I brush my teeth religiously, take my medication religiously, kiss my husband religiously (cuz that’s just fun!).
So when I think of falling from grace I ask, “Can I fall from the grace of my Maker?” Based on my journey with my faith for nearly 40 years, I would say that I cannot fall from the grace of Yeshua. It has been available and all encompassing in the midst of my deepest transgressions. It is a waterfall waiting to cover me with refreshing renewal as often as I need it.
I am looking at falling from grace in the context of my relationships with others. Can I fall from the grace of people? Yes. Can they fall from my grace? Yes. I have seen both.
What happens when a person falls from the grace of another person? It has been my experience that when a person falls from grace there is no forgiveness. We use the term grudge, in combo with how we handle people we have cast out of our lives, like it’s okay to do because we have a well-used term to define our active anger.
When we hold a grudge we haven’t really ended the relationship, have we? We are simply holding on in anger, hoping we are punishing that person and that they will somehow grovel their way towards our mercy in hopes that maybe they can do something that will gain entrance back into our lives.
Many people feel that when a person falls from grace in their lives, they never entertain the concept of receiving them back with forgiveness. I pity the person unwilling to forgive, I and hope they never encounter someone who views relationships in the same way they do, or at least they never become overly committed to someone just like them.
Grudges and unforgiveness are partners in crime and have no place in a healthy mind and spirit, for they twist and corrupt, leaving cynicism, bitterness, and discontent in their wake. The impact on the person actively holding a grudge is far more destructive than on the person being held in unforgiveness. The person who has fallen from grace can only fall so far away from the relationship and no further, but the person holding a grudge will be slowly eaten up by the upkeep and the side effects.
Grace is something we are able to extend to others when they offend us. I know that I could walk around offended on a regular basis if I chose not to exercise grace. It’s not that I’m so perfect and those in my life so imperfect. In fact, I would say I am the one who needs grace more from those in my life than I need to give them. We are human. We are fallible. We screw up. We need to be able to extend grace to others in order to help them be okay with correcting their mistakes. We need grace extended to us so that we learn from our mistakes.
As long as we are imperfect, we will need to have grace extended to us, and we will need to extend grace to others. It does not mean we embrace them back into our lives in the capacity they once were. Sometimes there is just no going back, but forgiveness does not require restoration of position. Sometimes we just need to forgive someone to free ourselves, and we can allow that grace is what we implement in order to walk that process out. I have to tell you, I have had to call on grace in the face of action, because I tend to be a very black and white person, and I have come to realize that life operates in the gray.
Does that mean I compromise my beliefs? No. I do not compromise what I believe to be right or wrong by extending someone grace. Grace is the bridge between what I believe and the person needing it that allows me to love, and love is what allows forgiveness. There are people I have forgiven who will never have access to my personal life again, but they no longer operate outside of the grace I have to offer others. I have extended it so that I CAN forgive them, and in doing so I have been freed from anger and all those symptoms that are a part of long term resentment.
I am no expert in this area, but I hope to be before my journey in this life is over, and I hope to always be aware of the grace extended me when I do something that causes offense and hurt in others. If you have someone who is falling from the grace you have to give others, call them back into it, and set both of you free.