For several weeks I have been working on a new book that might not even have my name on it. I’m making a CD into a book because the CD helped me so much that I want to share it as a book. I like to underline and it’s a little difficult to underline a CD message. The CD is a Munchie by Dr. Wilder, my mentor of many years. He’s always saying things that I have either never heard, or never thought of exactly the way he says them. I love getting my brain tickled like that as I hunger to learn and grow in my walk with Jesus. Even if I am not able to get this book edited sufficiently, it will be meaningful to me since I wrote down every word on the CD and now I’m making those transcriptions into paragraphs –again writing down almost every word. If head knowledge were the way to go, I would be well on my way to getting all the teaching.
Grace has been a favorite topic of mine since the 1980’s when I learned the Exchanged Life. I must say that learning to walk in grace and freedom has been a great journey. Along with learning the Exchanged Life in the 80’s, in the 90’s my journey was through the mire of co-dependency. Along with God, Dr. Wilder was my guide through that life- sucking swamp. When Dr. Wilder told me to go do a word study on the word “nice,” I laughed out loud. I immediately knew that word was not in the Bible. I stopped using it and replaced it with “kind,” but until lately I have to confess I still have allowed that word too much control over my thinking. It is the number one value in the United States and very hard to get over.
As I’ve struggled through Nice Swamp, trying to get free from the tentacles of fear that keep me from standing up for what is right, I have often mixed up nice and grace. From this CD I am working with, I want to share a look at grace that is beginning to slice through some of the weeds around my heart. Freedom is not freedom when I care more about what others will do or say back to me than I do to speak what God says to speak–when He says to speak. Speaking what God wants someone to hear is not being unkind (though they may hear it that way). We speak so they can live.
From Dr. Wilder:
“God is gracious, but grace does not mean overlooking that which is evil. Grace means dealing with that which is evil. It is not grace to let someone get away with evil while thinking it is good. That is not graciousness; that is foolishness.
Graciousness is confronting a person with the evil that he or she is doing so that they may have a chance to understand what God actually wants and then repent. However because it isn’t nice, it’s confrontive and not what the person wants to hear, we tend to think that it’s not gracious. We think of gracious as just something that makes someone comfortable all the time. Grace does not always make us comfortable-grace saves our life! Grace is God giving us the things we need for life, not the things we need for comfort. This is a very important distinction.”
I love that phrase in bold: Grace does not always make us comfortable—grace saves our life! This was the key phrase that opened my eyes to a fresh look at grace. I clearly understood grace concerning salvation. Jesus was not comfortable when He was saving our lives. But I must confess I have leaned towards ignoring things that I might need to say to someone when my motive was more from fear than from grace. I know It would take a book to explore all the facets of when to speak and when to overlook, but for now I am considering the fear that keeps us from standing up and speaking to someone who is hurting us or others. My desire is to grow in God’s inner strength that will stop my wandering in Nice Swamp when I need to be bold and brave. I am not sure yet how it will look or how it will feel, but I do know it is hard and scary. I want to have what I need for life, Real Life, and see giving grace as something that does not always make us comfortable. Along with musing on this look at grace, I am pursing any wounds that need healing so that fear will not keep me “nice.” Jesus in me is kind, but He is also brave.