Posted by: Kiana Bullard | July 22, 2009

Repentance, forgiveness, and grace

Repentance has been a continual theme this summer.  It was first brought up by a fellow team mate of mine, Asha.  It was one of the first weeks here that she brought up the topic.  The first time I heard the word repentance it kinda scared me.  Just the thought of going to people and openly admitting my faults and asking that they freely forgive me for hurting them.  Thinking about it didn’t make logical sense to me.  I go to someone and tell them that I have messed up and hurt them, I tell them that I am wrong and then after all that I ask the person to forgive me.  WHAT!!! Seriously!  I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I didn’t like it and I didn’t want to be a part of this revolution called repentance.  Especially the thought of having someone else come to me and repent and then me having to forgive.  The actual words “I forgive you” didn’t scare me, I had flipantly used those words before, but what scared me was in my heart genuinly forgiving this person and putting their past in the past and not holding things against them in the future.  My team mates were pointing out how repentance brings you closer to God and others but I was not convinced.

Recently I have seen repentance at work and my mindset has been transformed.  I had it explained in a way that just made sense.  God offered us grace and forgiveness on the cross and daily.  When I accept other people’s repentance by offering grace I am able to be Jesus to them.  When I have to ask for forgiveness and repent (which is quite often) I am giving others the oppotunity to show me grace.  And ya know what?  Through my experiences with asking for forgiveness and offering grace I have become closer to others and have grown with the Lord!  Yes, it is awkward at times and yes it is hard BUT it is a growing process and promotes community and unity among others as well as with God. 

My new understanding of grace has revolutionalized my life.  Jesse told us something very wise one day and it  has stuck with me ever since then.  He told us that grace is a defining characteristic of a Christian.  Grace is one thing that seperates Christians from others.  We offer grace to others even when it doesn’t make sense just like Christ did for us.    Christ forgives us time and time again, even when it doesn’t make sense for Him to forgive, even when it is the 7,000,000,000 time we have messed up and hurt Him.  He offered grace even if it meant sending His son to die, this wasn’t logical but it was what had to be done so He could offer us grace.  We are called to do the same.  We are called to offer grace and forgiveness when it is unlogical, when it is unpopular, when it has been time and time again that someone has asked for us to show grace.  Having grace, forgiveness, and repentance is just another way the God can show Himself real through us, by deciding not to offer grace, forgiveness, or offering repentance we are limiting what our powerful God can do.

All this to say, get out there and be open to offer grace freely, repent as often as necessary and forgive and ask for forgiveness.  Allow God to use you in any way and see what happens.  See how God can use you when you are willing to repent, forgive and show grace!

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