I preface this by saying that I’m still not entirely sure how I feel regarding what I am writing about. I’ve been talking to Jesus about this recently, and by talking I mean I've been sighing a lot and saying incomprehensible words. I just trust he understands how I feel. As I write this I'm eating cheesecake, hoping it makes me braver. Dessert can do that, right?
I'm scared to write this because I don't have the words perfected. I'm scared to offend people, and although I hate the idea of being a people-pleaser, I think I probably am one. I love people a lot, and I love Jesus more than anything, but I'm still afraid my thoughts and feelings aren't going to come across the way I hope they will. I suppose I just have to start writing and see what comes out of it.
A few weeks ago I spent the day alone. I felt sick and heavy, as if my bones were weighing me down. If I had gone swimming I surely would have sunk. My stomach was twisting and I seemed nervous and shaky. I thought, if I let myself, I could cry all day. I took a shower and prayed, realizing I had inadvertently spent the day grieving.
I have been a Christian for almost twelve years and somedays it feels like I have just begun. There are days where I feel as if I've hardly moved forward, and days where I feel like I'm doing okay.
Then there are days where I mourn the fact that we are humans attempting to depict who Jesus is, and that none of us will ever get that right.
I have been hurt by people who love Jesus. Certainly we as human beings are not perfect. None of us, Christian or otherwise, have our lives even somewhat pulled together. This is a fact that I know in my core. But more and more recently, I have been deeply saddened by how hurt I have been by people who love Jesus.
I thought that wouldn't happen anymore. But still it does.
I have prayed about this a lot. I have shaken with anger. I have said to my friends, "Why do people think shaming other people is an okay thing to do?" I have said to Jesus, "Why does this happen still, particularly coming from people who love you?"
God showed me that most of the time people aren't intentionally trying to be hurtful. I think once in awhile they are, but for now let's give the world the benefit of the doubt. They think that what they are doing is right, but in doing so may accidentally be evoking shame or guilt. Their intentions may be kind, but still we are hurt. I keep asking Jesus how he feels about this.
In no way, shape, or form am I in a position to judge anyone. None of us are. And maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. Maybe I'm too emotional or feel things too deeply. It's true that I'm not a Biblical scholar or theologian, but I am a girl who loves Jesus deeply, and I follow him and take what he says seriously.
I believe that there is nothing we could do or say that could mess us up in the eyes of God. I believe that we are loved, truly. I believe that there is an overflow of grace, an overflow that is quite literally never ending. Humanity has a hard time with grace, but Jesus doesn't.
I was out with a friend last week, a friend decades older than me, and she told me something her spiritual director recently told her: when you have been set free, you are free indeed. Your fear, your shame, your disappointment may return over time for a moment or two, but you don't stay there and you don't own that anymore. When you have been set free, you are free indeed. I kept nodding my head while tears welled up in my eyes.
Yes, I thought. Yes.
More than anything this is what I would like to tell you: I am sorry if you have been hurt, especially by someone who loves Jesus. I think most of the time the people in this world are trying their best, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. This I know -- shame or guilt is not something that comes from Jesus. I will never agree with someone who says the opposite.
You are free and you are loved, and there is absolute grace for you.
That's something I have to remember again each day: over and over and over, there is grace.