Defined by Grace
By Amanda Detweiler
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)
I sat on the side of the bed as I tucked in my six-year-old for the night. I leaned over and gave him a kiss on the forehead and as I was about to pray over him, like we do most nights, I felt this nudge in my spirit to ask him if there was anything on his heart that he wanted to pray about. He looked off to the side with tears in his eyes and a quiver in his lip and said, “Mommy can you pray that I always make wise choices so I never have to clip down again?”
My momma-heart sank as I heard these words come out of his mouth. You see, in his classroom, just like in classrooms all over, hangs a behavior chart. Every day each student’s clip begins in the center of the color-coded chart. Students who are observed doing something kind or helpful like pushing in a classmate’s chair or doing extra clean-up get to move their clips up. Students who are observed being disruptive or unkind are asked to move their clips down. Throughout the school day all of the kids have the opportunity to have their clips moved up or down and every morning it starts all over.
The behavior chart teaches incredibly valuable lessons to the children about how their choices affect themselves and others, that everyone makes mistakes, and everyday offers multiple opportunities to improve their choices.
Earlier that day, my boy clipped down, and those lessons were the furthest thing from his mind because in his little boy heart he decided that he clipped down because he made a bad choice and therefore, he was a bad kid.
When he shared his prayer request with me, his heart was really crying out the shame and guilt that he was feeling because of one poor choice. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that ends in childhood. I still struggle with this from time to time and I know that many of you can relate. We make a poor choice, we fail at an attempt we had hope for, we’re reminded of mistakes from our past that we have been forgiven for and even rectified, and we allow the shame and guilt to creep back in.
But the Word of God, reminds us of who we are because of what Christ did for us. When we choose to begin our journey with Jesus and receive his forgiveness and lordship over our lives, we walk in His grace.
His Word tells us that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24) Because of His grace we are no longer identified by the mistakes of our past, present, or future but viewed as righteous and redeemed through the blood of Jesus. (Ephesians 1:7) When we make mistakes we are still responsible to walk out whatever is necessary to bring resolution and restitution, but we are no longer bound by shame and guilt because we identify with His grace and not our mistakes.
Now take a deep breath and just allow that truth to sink into your heart for a moment. Our Father is so good and desires to see His children walk in freedom and become the righteous ones that He created us to be. Lamentations 3:23 paints for us the picture of our God who gives infinite opportunities for us to make choices that take us down the path to become more in likeness with His image. “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” We never have to remain stuck in the same place on the behavior chart.
That night I gently walked my little boy through identifying his poor choice, recognizing what he can do differently, and most importantly brought him to the feet of Jesus to receive forgiveness and the outpouring of love and grace that He is always ready to give.
No matter how long you’ve been on your journey with the Lord or if you are considering beginning that journey, we can all be reminded of what my little guy learned that night.
My dear brothers and sisters, making mistakes is a part of life, but they do not define us. When we make a mistake, it is important that we learn from it and take any necessary actions to rectify it. But, the most important thing we can do is come to the feet of Jesus to remember that it is by His grace we are not our mistakes. We ARE the rescued, redeemed, and righteous sons and daughters of our loving Father and we walk in grace.
Meet the Author
Amanda is happily married to her wonderful husband, Josh, and is a mother to two amazing little boys. Together, Josh and she pastor a campus of Morningstar Fellowship in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and love being a part of that community. This is Amanda’s first venture in writing, but it has been a desire of her heart for a long time so, she is thrilled to have this opportunity. When she’s not writing, Amanda enjoys listening to various messages to grow her relationship with the Lord and spending time with her family and friends.
You can read Amanda's "Sunday Inspiration" column the 1st Sunday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.