Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Kindness, Acceptance, Grace

What a difficult, painful year it’s been for me. And I know I’m not the only one. 

I was recently blessed to spend a few days with some friends who were just present with me – listening, accepting, being. I shared much of my long, complicated, hard to understand story with them. And they didn’t try to categorize, label, or judge my experiences, character, or choices. They graciously listened, showed kindness, and gave me the gift of being seen, heard, accepted, and loved. 


In this crazy, mixed-up world we live in, I think too often we want to categorize and label everything out of desperation to make sense of things. And I’m not against having clear distinctions of right from wrong and good from evil. Praise God that He has given us the truth we need to recognize such things. 


But there are some things in life that can’t be easily classified as “right” or “wrong”…some things are neutral, or complicated, or a mix of both right and wrong. 


So, what do we do with those? What do we do with people who share stories we can’t relate to or understand? How do we respond when their experience isn’t something we can categorize or label? 


Oh, how I hope we do not give in to the temptation to judge! …though I’m sad to say I have done so on too many occasions. And I’ve been on the receiving end of unjust judgement from others too many times as well. Both things make me feel sad. Because that is not God’s heart! His heart is one of kindness, acceptance, and grace. His heart is one of unconditional love and never-failing affection for His precious children – no matter our circumstances, experiences, or choices. 

We are His beloved ones. Always. 


When we’re tempted to judge someone or something we can’t understand, I pray we’ll remember the following words from God’s heart, through the Apostle Paul, who also experienced both sides of unjust judgement. 


“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.” –Romans 14:4


“You then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgement seat…so then each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” –Romans 14:10, 12


“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” –Romans 14:19


“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” –Romans 15:7


God is the only one with the right, wisdom, and perfection to judge accurately every single time. As limited human beings, we must be more cautious in how and what we judge. Now is definitely a time for us to take a stand against evil, lies, and deception. But I hope in the process that we do not misjudge people, for each one is loved and was died for by Jesus. 


And for those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ? I pray we’ll remember that God has already judged each of us as righteous because of Jesus. He is our Master. Before Him we will all stand. 


If you’ve been on the receiving end of unjust criticism, labeling, or judgement from others, I’m so sorry! I wish, as God’s children, that we could always show kindness, acceptance, and grace to each other. Alas, none of us are perfect, and we still mess up at times. But I hope you can know and remember God’s heart toward you. 


His heart is one of – 

complete understanding – you don’t have to explain yourself to Him, 

perfect love – you can’t do anything to make Him love you less,

unending grace – He will never stop showing you kindness,

and so much more!


And those people in our lives who may judge too quickly or unjustly…they also need kindness, acceptance, and grace. Even if they never recognize when we’re giving it to them. Many of them have good motives, they just don’t understand. Others are responding out of their own hurt, insecurities, or fears. They need us to demonstrate God’s grace to them as much as we wish they’d show it to us. 


What a beautiful Savior we have! I’m so thankful for Jesus’ perfect love and grace. May He keep working in each of us the healing we need, so that we can receive more of His grace and extend more of it to one another.  





They don’t understand – 

how could they?

They weren’t there,

they didn’t see, hear, feel 

what it was like. 

They can’t compare what they know

to what they don’t know. 


They don’t understand –

and I’m thankful

that they don’t know, 

that they haven’t suffered

like I have. 

They can’t imagine what it’s like,

and that’s a good thing.


They don’t understand – 

but they do care.

They want to help,

they try to make things better,

even when they can’t.

They may hurt instead of help,

but their hearts are true.


They don’t understand – 

and it’s ok.

I’m not alone,

my Savior knows, sees, understands

every single thing.

He gives grace to me, to them,

and that’s enough for me.