“Yahuwah your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His Love, He will dance over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
When finally I took a breath, I lifted my eyes and was met by a knowing look on my mother’s face. She had listened as I recounted a hurtful episode with a friend. Normally, she would be the first one to encourage bringing conflict into the light but this time her expression told me that I wasn’t going to receive her normal counsel. She said with care, “I know it hurts and you may want to draw back, but this is a good friend and trust me —- it’s better to go forward, forgive and be happy with whatever your friend can give you.” I sat quietly letting her words sink in and, there, felt God’s gentle invitation to grace. That day I chose to forgive and make peace with what the friendship was not, rejoice over what it was, and trust God for a good way forward.
I think my mother discerned that my expectations of my friend, while reasonable, were unrealistic. The options were to either ask something of my friend that she could not give, withdraw from friendship, or adjust my expectations and trust God to provide. The result was a floodgate that burst open! No longer was Love held back by my unforgiving heart and its flow washed over and carried me to a place where grace grows. I realized that the gift of grace is exactly what I receive from God every single minute of my life. He forgives me, believes in me, and celebrates who I am…even if who I am, is a creature in process, flawed and selfish.
Here and now is where God loves me!
Henri Nouwen once spoke of two necessary ingredients to all friendships: forgiveness and celebration. If it isn’t every day, then it is often, that we need to forgive and be forgiven by our friends.
Without an open heart that is willing to share the grace freely received, we grieve the heart of God and sadly, block His flow of Love through our lives.
If we cannot forgive, we cannot celebrate and if we cannot celebrate we cannot join God in His exuberant dance over creation — that’s you and me! His dance steps are full of grace and the tune that He sings over us is a melody of generous love…freely given!
“Thank you, Father, for the way you look at me! What would I be without the grace I have received? Fill me with your love and let it inspire a gracious dance in me. Amen.”
What about you?
Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive?
Have you tasted the freedom of forgiving? Being forgiven?
Are you expecting things from your friend that they cannot give right now?
What does it feel like to be celebrated by God and others? Who are you celebrating?
Have you felt God invite you to grace lately?
Freely receive the grace that pours over you and trade your grudges for grace. God invites you to celebrate with Him!
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