Have you ever been so blasted with the grace of God that you hardly know how to react? I don’t know about you, but it’s incredibly easy for me to forget how much I need it. In fact, it’s so easy that I tend to forget it for months at a time. The wake-up calls are never too fun, either, because realizing you need grace is painful and uncomfortable. After all, it’s the lightbulb moment when “I’ve got this” becomes “I’ve been screwing this up.”
On a chilly Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I woke up to a text from my mom’s best friend buzzing in my phone. “Do you have time to talk? Need to discuss table.” It was 7:30, and way too early for even basic conversation, but I knew I wouldn’t have time the rest of the day so I called her.
It’s funny how a small thing like that—talking about a table, I mean—can be part of God’s master plan. He knows just how to build things up so life works out. My mom’s best friend is like my second mom, so of course the table conversation became decorating, and decorating became roommates, and all of a sudden, the roommate subject became my ex-boyfriend. Ugh.
“I’m still a little mad about it sometimes,” I said when she asked if I had recovered. “But I’m mostly over it.”
My aunt, being my aunt and a wonderful woman of God, didn’t let it slide. “It’s been long enough, sweetheart. Time to let God change your mind about a few things.”
There it was: the challenge. Let God change your mind. How often do we hear this and ignore it? Let God fix my attitude? I don’t think anyone ever wants God to fix his or her attitude. When David stole Bathsheba and thought he was in the clear, he didn’t like Nathan coming to tell him he was wrong. Then there’s Jonah, whose bad attitude had to take a sea cruise before he considered changing his mind. The alternative to needing a changed mind is having one that is constantly aware of how grace-full God is. Some people have it all the time. Some need nudging. I think I’m one of the latter.
I definitely didn’t want a changed mind, and here’s why: I wasn’t mad at the guy. I was mad at myself. Mad I didn’t see it coming. Mad I didn’t do something drastic sooner. Mad and blatantly refusing to accept any kind of refreshment from God. Being told I needed to let God work on me would have been great if it was as simple as forgiveness. But no, it was my attitude toward my singleness and my past actions that needed an about-face.
Two revelations finally set my feet back in the right direction:
My problems are not new.
Psalm 73 is amazing. It was written by a guy named Asaph, a man (or people, scholars aren’t certain) who lived around 1000 B.C. The whole chapter is packed with things I’ve said to God, to friends, and to other people around me. They’re problems common to singles, married people, teenagers, and world rulers. It’s immediate and reading it felt like getting smacked upside the head with a handful of sense. The verses that really got to me were #3 and #11: “For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness…’What does God know?’ [I] ask. ‘Does the Most High even know what’s happening?’”
True love is full of grace.
I heard my pastor say that true love is putting other people in a position that will lead them to experience God. And in order to love completely, you have to give grace completely. For some reason, when I heard this I immediately wondered if I was loving myself enough to put my mind in the center of the God experience. It had to have been a God-driven thought. The answer was no. No, I wasn’t.
Between true love, grace, and Asaph, there is no room for excuses. We are children of God. We may not feel like we deserve all the grace and mercy offered to us, but refusing it is turning away from the experience God has planned for us.
More than anything he wants us to rest in the fullness of his love, away from self-loathing, bad attitudes, and refusals to heal. I have never met a person who wasn’t a work in progress. but letting yourself fall into those bad habits, like I did, is dangerous.
Besides, if God can change my mind, he can change anything.
If you know someone who is struggling with resentment and anger, would you email them this post?