April 05, 2013

In Extending Grace


If there is one thing I've learned about the internet it is that it takes very little to raise someone's hackles. The slightest misstep in wording can cause a storm of words that make a Kansas tornado seem tame.
A lovely woman who has weathered many of life's storms openly in her writings found herself the battening down the hatches this week. The piece she wrote for Prodigal Magazine challenging feminist ideologies by encouraging servant hood in marriage set off an F-4. Those who have followed or interacted with her took a gentle approach with her words. Others took great exception to such an extreme their comments were filled with veiled (some not so veiled) accusations of a permissive attitude towards abuse. To say it got out of hand would be a gross understatement.
Whether or not this writer used an unfortunate analogy or just ticked off those who are fighting their cause doesn't matter. So many got mad so fast that what was worth saving became completely overlooked. The point she was making about having the heart of Christ, living out grace and serving each other just slid through unnoticed. That to me was the saddest thing about it all. Everyone fighting so loudly over the words that we missed her heart.
I hope I didn't.
You see, what I heard was, serving each other isn't dependent on the response of the one you are blessing. Grace demands that we give without expecting anything in return. It is about how our heart kneels down to wash feet no matter how dirty the person's feet are. Jesus didn't wash the feet of the clean, He washed those who have mucked through the dirt of life. He didn't wait until they had a good attitude, He served anyway.
This morning I was struck by a post published by Everyone Matters. It is one person's story of giving money to a family with cardboard signs. In biblical days we would call them beggars. Now we turn the other way, ignore them or even worse we cast judgement on how they ended up there. I was moved by the author's words when she said "Many people might say or think that I'm a fool for giving them money because for all I know it might be a scam. True, it may be a scam and it may not be. But I don't think I could be at peace with myself if I knew that I could have helped that family and chose not to."
This my friends is grace. This is giving without receiving. There was no expectation on this family to prove they needed money or that they would spend it wisely. We can only be responsible for what we choose to do with what we are given.
That's what I heard from the heart of my sister, submission to her husband in a biblical sense. Although we are to submit to one another, it isn't true submission to make someone obey you. To demand that they submit to you as well is conditional love. If you require their behavior be worthy of submission first, you aren't truly submitting, you are controlling.
Jesus washed our feet. 
Jesus died before we followed Him.
Jesus sacrificed His life so we could be reconciled to Him and each other.
He never demanded us to follow but doesn't it make sense the if we don't follow Him, we can't really be with Him? My husband doesn't demand that I follow him but He leads. With that leadership he listens to my voice. He hears my concerns. He trusts my heart. Through my submission to him our relationship is free to flourish. Ephesians 5:21 says "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord." You see, even though it says that we should submit to each other, my own responsibility is found in verse 22. That was written to me.
Today we are preparing for a women's event that I oversee every other month. My husband has assembled the cooking team, spent yesterday cleaning the area from the Easter play and tonight will help with whatever is needed to support the ministry I have been given. It his an act of service to me. It is still a dance where we are learning the steps but the music we listen to is the same. 
It is the music of grace.

Always,



Hope

3 comments:

Hope said...

Thanks for this! And love that you tied in Christ's love for the church with His washing of feet! I didn't see the original post or all the comments, but I have seen that topic trending in blogs this week.

Hope said...

To demand that they
submit to you as well is conditional love. If you require their behavior
be worthy of submission first, you aren't truly submitting, you are
controlling.


oh friend. you summed it up SO well. i am so appreciative of your heart, of your post, of your words. this is a beautiful gift and challenge. thank you.

Hope said...

This is lovely, sister. I really enjoyed Emily's post and am always surprised by the spark of controversy around this subject, but I truly don't think her heart was heard and that's sad.
Your husband always speaks well of you, and you honor him here. Such a blessing to see godly marriages!
(And someday we should visit in real life!)