Loving someone unconditionally and demonstrating grace towards them is easier when their mistakes only affect their life. But what happens when the mistakes of others directly influence and impact your life? How do you demonstrate unconditional love and extend grace to them when their actions and decisions have caused tragedy or trouble in your life? What happens when this person continues to make poor decisions that can ruin everything? What do you do if the person is forever tied to you; like a parent, sibling, relative, spouse or child?
Demonstrating love, mercy and grace to those whose decisions, words and actions affect your life can be difficult; their mess becomes your mess. Are you okay with having to clean up their mess? Are you okay with having your life be a mess because of others? Are you okay with having your reputation messy or ruined because of others? Are you willing to embrace embarrassment from your loved ones? Can you deal with your family name being ruined because of what a spouse or child does? How would you accept them? Would you reject them or embrace them? Would you endure the embarrassment and rejection of others to be an example of love and grace towards another?
It becomes possible when we realize that God is bigger than any mess that we or others create. We need to realize that God can clean up any mess, and allow God the opportunity to demonstrate His Power and Sovereignty. We are called to focus on loving, comforting, encouraging and building up people. We don’t need to control people. We don’t need to prevent them from messing up or messing up our lives -of course we still speak the truth in love and exercise wisdom and discernment in every situation. We are to trust that God is in control and that he will cause all things to work together for the good of those who love him. We are to trust that God is able to restore every area of our life, as well as the other person’s. We need to allow God to show us that He is a restorer and a redeemer. He will restore the years the locust has stolen. God can give us far more exceedingly above all that we had lost, or could have, if we had not incurred loss.
Let us walk in the freedom of not controlling people because we are afraid of them making us look bad or ruining our lives. Of course there is wisdom in all of this, but do not put fear and rejection into someone because you are afraid of their mess. Trust that God is in control and that no mess or mistake is too big for Him.
By Duane Moore
Campus Pastor, Victory Christian Fellowship
The Pennsylvania State University