Day 4 - Unwilling Grace
My favorite podcast is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Today, I listened to a recent interview she did with Dr. Henry Blackaby called "Revival and Repentance." Obviously I was drawn to it because I am in a week and a half time period of personal repentance. It was so encouraging, thought-provoking, and refreshing that I wanted to share it with you all. So if you have 25 minutes to spare, please download and listen to it, or read the manuscript from it. Click here to get it.
One point he made is that we often think of revival as something our schools, community, or nation needs, but not us. But it's quite the contrary. Revival starts in the hearts of God's people. Here is a quote from this interview:
"You cannot have God in your midst and remain as you are as a people of God. You will come under severe conviction of sin. God’s people will feel the awesome presence of the holiness of God and expose their sin and will cry out unto God in repentance."~Henry Blackaby.
It is like Isaiah 6. When we are truly in the presence of God, there is an intense awareness of our wickedness before Him. Revival starts in us, His children, and it starts with repentance. I am praying that this time for me will be the start of a personal revival, inviting God's manifest presence into my life in such a powerful way that I am radically changed by it.
I was very surprised today by my time of prayer. Not sure what I expect God to be revealing in my heart, but obviously this wasn't it. The first word that came to mind.... grace. How is that something to repent of? But as I prayed more, I realized that it wasn't simply grace, but specifically the lack of grace I have shown.
At times, I have an unwillingness to show grace. This is the problem. Unfortunately, the person who takes the brunt of my unwillingness to show grace is my husband. Whether it is just his busy touring schedule or an innocent mistake he made or something he forgot, I am often unwilling to show him grace. I will make a conscious choice to make my disappointment known through my tone of voice and my attitude and sometimes harsh words. I will hold it over him emotionally just to make sure he knows what he did or didn't do was not ok.
How wicked of me! I am no better than the wicked slave in Jesus' parable in Matthew 18:23-35. As the story goes, a slave owed the king 10,000 talents (talent = more than 15 years wages). If we use $30,000 as the yearly wage that equals $4.5 billion!! Before he and his family get sold to repay his debt, he begs and pleads for the king to be patient while he tries to pay it back. The king has compassion on him and forgives his entire debt! Shortly following this, that same slave found a fellow slave who owed him 100 denarii (denarii = a days wages). If we figure $80 a day, that's only $8,000.
The forgiven slave begins to choke the other demanding he pay back what he owed. Even though he pleaded for him to be patient, it says the forgiven slave "was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed." Ummm... not ok!! The king finds out and calls this slave back saying "You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way I had mercy on you?"
I repent of my wicked unwillingness to show grace to my husband and instead throwing him into an emotional prison until he repays what he owes.
How can I, who has been shown so much grace by God, choose to not to give that same grace to others. Especially to my husband! And there is a difference between genuine hurt feelings, which I think are healthy to share and talk about, and intentionally not letting go of something. The horrible part is, I have often forgiven and shown grace in my words, while my attitude and disappointed sighs give away what's really in my heart. But Jesus commands me in the last verse of that chapter to forgive "from my heart" not just my words or deeds. Lord, forgive me of the audacity I have to withhold grace from anyone when I have been shown so much from you. May I never be like that wicked slave. Help me be like you, extending grace as it has been extended to me.