I choose grace.

I choose grace when people I care about do their best to hurt me. If you asked the Ashley I was maybe a year ago or so, she wouldn’t have said the same thing. She would have done her best to hurt them right back. But my mom spoke some wise words to my heart.

She said, “Hurting people hurt people.”

It’s so easy to get hurt, offended, upset, and even angry when people we have loved unconditionally continue to lash out towards us. Or maybe people who don’t even know our hearts that continuously persecute us and even label us wrongly. It hurts whenever someone intentionally takes a stab at us. Sometimes it’s so hard for me to bite my tongue. Like my mom said, “Hurting people hurt people.” Once I get hurt, the urge of my flesh comes out and tempts me to lash out. But, I know that’s not the right thing to do.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve thought about how Jesus said to forgive your brother seven times seventy. How he said to forgive as He has forgiven. How he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” I hate laying down my pride and anger to soak these truths into my heart. I try to bargain with God and say, “But you don’t know how bad they hurt me.” Oh, He knows. He so knows. But He also knows that if I’m His child, then my walk is my witness. How can I claim to be a follower of Jesus…the One who showed ultimate grace, if I can’t give it. Grace is hard. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve come to learn from Jesus. While grace is this beautiful gift we’re given when we’re saved, it’s also hard for us to give. As much as we can unconditionally love someone, it is only a sliver of how much God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit love us. So while this amazing gift of love and eternal forgiveness has covered us head to toe, it is still so hard for us to show someone that same love and mercy because we’re only human. But the more we show as much of God’s grace as we humanly can to others, I believe the people that harm us will see Jesus through our actions.

So, I choose grace. Not because it’s easy. Not because I’m some perfect Christian that has no negative emotions (because let’s face it, I’m a work in progress). Not because taking the high road is what we’re supposed to do. But because, I know when I meet Jesus and we go through all the things I’ve done in this life…He will never be disappointed or scold me for loving someone and showing them grace. Being the bigger person can feel so small at times. But what gets me through those times of hurt is knowing that one day we will all be held accountable for our actions here on Earth. Even the people that hurt me. While I may never see revenge on Earth or get an apology, they will have to answer to Jesus just like I will.

So, I choose grace. Because to hurt me, they must be hurting about something in their soul. Whether it be about their relationship with Jesus, something going on with their family, or an emptiness inside. Whatever it may be, hurt is still hurt. We’ve all felt hurt at some point in our lives, and I know we wouldn’t truly wish that upon anyone.

To wrap this up, I just want to share this little bit with you. I was driving home tonight pondering on a recent hurt in my life caused by someone my heart cares deeply for. I was talking to Jesus and said, “Jesus, I just don’t understand how someone who you loved and once loved you, can turn into someone who want to keep hurting you over and over again?” Now, I haven’t heard God’s voice just yet in my walk….But that question kind of led me back to Calvary. Jesus loved me so much that He chose to die in my place, bear all of my shame for every single bad thing I’ve done, and gave me grace so I wouldn’t have to walk in my sin everyday. Yet even though I love Him, I still hurt Him. Every day. And every day He shows me grace.

So, I choose grace. Because Jesus chose grace for me. And He chose it for you too.

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