Remember “puppy love”? That time in life when love seemed blind and you felt on top of the world? Girls, your parents and your best friend told you “He is a loser“, your Grandpa assured you, “that boy ain’t nothing but trouble“, but you were blind, deaf, and basically completely handicapped in love.
With a loser.
In those instances, we want to say, “love is blind”, but really the opposite is true of both love and grace. It’s the fact that love and grace see it all and still choose the “bottom feeders” of society just as often as they choose Mother Theresa, Corrie ten Boom, Billy Graham, and every other saint on your list, that make them truly unique.
I love the book, “The Hiding Place“, Corrie ten Boom’s story of hope, grace, dealing with weakness, anger, and so much more in the face of the Nazis. In the preface of the book, she is quoted as saying:
Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.
She goes on to tell a gripping story at the end of this book (pg. 215) that sheds such beautiful light on the lie that “love is blind”:
It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there–the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie‘s pain-blanched face.
He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing, “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein.” he said. “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!”
His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.
Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.
I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.
As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.
And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.
Her memory was sharp. She remembered the showers, the pain, the mocking, and all the other experiences from the concentration camp, yet God gave her His forgiveness to pass on to this man.
Grace isn’t blind.
Grace is the strength I had to forgive my child molester.
Grace is the strength you have when you give your drunk spouse a second chance. Or your cheating spouse. Or your deadbeat Dad. Or your addict of a Mother.
Grace is often more messy than beautiful. It isn’t blind. Grace sees it all.
In a world full of judgement, where there seems to be no forgiveness, where hearts and minds are filled with hatred and segregation, Grace chooses to see it all and love in spite of it all.
Grace is Messy.