Have you ever realized something about yourself that made you cringe inwardly?
A sudden awareness of your very human and flawed self?
Today, I did.
I sensed God showing me an area of hypocrisy in my life. And gently encouraging me to listen as He shared His perspective on the situation.
To be honest, I didn’t like it. But I know that God disciplines those He loves. It is just one of the facets of His role as Abba Father. The fact that He disciplines me, although unpleasant, serves as a reminder that I am His child.
For the LORD corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.
Proverbs 3:12 (NLT)
In my post Love of a Father, I shared how God showed me a picture of Jesus embracing the hurting child within me. The child who longs to have a daddy who will watch her twirl in dresses and tell her she is beautiful. I watched as Jesus smiled affectionately at her and whispered these words of love, “I take much delight in you, my precious child”.
He takes delight. In me. His precious child.
If we look back at the words of Proverbs 3:12, we see that “a father corrects a child in whom he delights”. I believe Jesus carefully chose the words He spoke to me, each one holding significance and meaning. He said that He delights in me, so clearly I should expect His loving discipline as well.
Hearing Jesus speak words of love to my heart has been life-giving and freeing. These encounters are powerful and beautifully healing.
But I realize that I have to be willing to accept His loving discipline as well. I can’t have one without the other.
By now you must be wondering about the nature of my hypocrisy…
As I was meeting with my Pastor this week, we again prayed for God’s healing touch in my life. We prayed and asked Him if there was anything He wanted to speak to my heart.
I clearly sensed Him gently whisper, “Your father is worthy of grace, just as you are”.
My husband and I have been planning a child dedication for our youngest. It is taking place this Sunday. I reluctantly invited my parents, but secretly hoped they would not come. Our church has two services, and I intentionally chose the earlier time knowing that it would be more difficult for them to attend. They live over two hours away, and would have to leave by 6:30 in the morning to make it to the church on time.
When I extended the invitation, I sweetly offered that they could come the day before and stay at our place overnight. I say ‘sweetly’ with tongue in cheek. There was deceit woven in my feigned kindness.
You see, I knew my father would decline. He doesn’t like to be away from home overnight. So outwardly, I was the kind and generous daughter, but inwardly I was harboring resentment. My kindness was complete pretense. The very definition of hypocrisy.
1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
My father surprised me the following day, by confirming that he and my mother would attend the dedication. If I’m honest, I was disappointed. Even distressed. I did not want them to come.
I sensed God encouraging me to acknowledge the fact that my parents were willing to get up before the crack of dawn and drive for hours, just because they love their granddaughter. And to be fair, they love me too.
While there are definitely some very real and significant losses needing to be grieved in my life, I also need to be willing to offer forgiveness so that my heart does not become bitter and hard.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23 (ESV)
I prayed and asked God to help me extend grace to my father, just as Abba had extended grace to me. Not because my father is deserving, but because God has deemed him worthy of grace.
There is a big difference between being unworthy and being undeserving. None of us are deserving of the grace that God has shown us. We have done nothing to earn it. But worth is vastly different. The worth of something is determined by the price that someone else is willing to pay for it…Jesus paid an extravagant price for us. He considered us worth the cost.
I knew that what God was asking of me was not possible in my own strength. In all honesty, I not only lacked the ability, but even the desire to extend grace.
I prayed for wisdom in setting healthy boundaries, where necessary, and a softened heart to compassionately extend grace when possible. I prayed that God would transform the desires of my heart, so that I would long for restoration and healing in my relationship with my father.
I don’t think I can overstate how difficult this will be for me.
Challenging. Beyond. Words.
Only a miracle could bring healing to my relationship with my father. What a blessing to know that Abba is the divine Healer, a miracle worker in every sense of the word!
Blessings and hugs,
Photo credit: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/107023