Sometimes ideas for the weekly iPod Devotional come easily. Today as dog friend Hannah and I left for the morning walk I had no idea which song to use for this week's musings. Almost immediately a song by Tenth Avenue North came on the iPod shuffle. Tenth Avenue North is one of my go to sources when I need a refreshing mist of grace to get through a dry spiritual day. The song that popped up is called "Oh My Dear". The lyrics detail a phone call to a hurting friend.
I called you up, you were in bed, could barely make out the words that you said
But you wanted to see me instead, so I got dressed
So I stepped out into the snow, and walked for a mile or so
Felt the rush of blood come from the cold, within my chest
What a great picture of grace. Most of us would be willing to make a phone call to a hurting friend. Some of us might offer to be with them for support (preferably the next morning at a reasonable time at Starbucks). But how many of us would go in the middle of the night just to walk through a dark valley with a brother or sister in the faith?
I remembered the story of Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta who received the Medal of Honor from President Obama. He ran into an intense firefight to find his wounded buddy, fought off two insurgents and dragged his friend to cover. His quote was thought provoking.
"I didn't run through fire to do anything heroic or brave; I did what I believe anyone would have done."
I wonder if I have that mindset when it comes to my hurting brothers and sisters in Christ. I don't need to do anything heroic. I just need to do what anyone who has been rescued by grace would have done.
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. (Galatians 6, NLT)
The song "Oh My Dear" continues with a trembling confession about a hidden sin and the fear that that revelation will end the relationship.
And so your tears fell and melted the snow
You told me secrets nobody had known
But I never loved you more, even though
Now I know what you did
That is what the grace of God does. The question that drives the novel Bo's Café summarizes that grace. "What if there was a place where the worst of me could be known, and I would discover in the telling of it that I would be loved more, not less?"
I know that too many have not discovered this place. Too many have been hurt more by those who should have shown them grace and gently and humbly restored them. Too many have given up that such a room of grace exists. I was there just a few short years ago.
The chorus of the song says this.
Oh, my dear, I'll wait for you
Grace tonight will pull us through
Sin cannot remove His amazing grace from you. God loves you just as you were, are and will be. Most of us are familiar with this verse from Paul's treatise to the Romans.
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6, NIV).
But check out this translation of the text from The Message.
Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God.
One more translation might have come from our sons when they were younger. "Sin is not the boss of me." That is the hope of our new identity in Christ and the grace that He bestows. Sin does not have to be your boss.
Satan would suggest that being honest with brothers and sisters in Christ about struggles with sin will cause them to turn away in disgust. Maybe the bigger fear is not taking the chance that grace will triumph and you will be loved more and not less in the telling. Allow me to paraphrase my friend, Texas Ranger baseball manager Ron Washington, and co-opt his signature quote about baseball.
"That's what grace do!"
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.