“These people make the same mistakes over and over again!” (Am I really responding this way, again?)

Sometimes it seems like there is nothing worse than making the same mistake more than once. Especially when I’m on the other side of a mistake–being the one needing to exercise more patience than I would like for the sake of loving the offending sinner.

But, I think my real problem here is not impatience or even a penchant to be disgruntled, but a case of spiritual amnesia. I have poor memory–there’s no other explanation. Surely if I had a good one, I would be full of grace. Thus, no grace, no memory. And to reverse that: No memory, no grace.

You see, I have a problem with exhibiting a good memory because I have a problem seeing grace–I can’t keep in mind what I don’t regularly see.

If grace was shown to me once a long time ago and it didn’t have on-going affects, then maybe it would be okay to forget it. But since grace is the blanket over me every day, I have no excuse. I’m obviously lifting up the blanket and peaking out–perhaps even throwing it back completely and forgetting my need to be covered.

And, if I’m not allowing myself to be completely and constantly covered with grace that is visible to me, how can I see grace as a reality that should apply to you too? Rather, I will resent you because you remind me of my need for grace and how little I’m seeing it (i.e. how little I’m wanting it).

I must want grace. Seeing my sin and my powerlessness to confront and eradicate it makes me want grace. Receiving grace makes me aware that there is a power at work over me and in me that I cannot personally account for. It does not deliver up glory from me, but lovingly bestows it on me. If I am aware of this, I can quit expecting you to be delivering up glory from yourself and allow God to lovingly bestow it on you through me. And, regardless of whether your consistent mistakes make me discouraged at your power to change, I trust God that He is the power that must both make you whole and me at peace with you.

Should I kneel and make you happy, Lord?

“Should I kneel for You tonight, Lord?” I ask, thinking this might make Him happier with me than if I stand or sit the way I’m inclined to do.

There would be nothing for Me to gain in that. He says.

At first what I hear confuses me and disappoints me a little. I thought I had found something that would really impress Him1 I thought this would be a way to push my prayer time to the next level; I could make it more productive than usual, more self-satisfying. If so, I would do whatever to take hold of the possibility.

But, I come back to His words again. No gain for Him? What does that mean? Why would He say that to me? Gosh! It sounds like He’s a little peeved with me. Could He be mad? Oh, if He is, what shall I do? What a way to ruin a prayer time, Elaine!

After I get over the wounded-pride response to His blunt words, I begin to question why I thought kneeling would be such a good idea. I thought it would please Him sure, but why did I think it would please Him? Was it because it would make me look good and holy, or because it would ultimately remind me that He alone is good and holy?

I don’t think I could say the latter. That’s certainly not where my heart was. You see, there are some sacrifices, some extra-mile type exercises that we attempt for God that do not please Him. Instead of the joy-filled response we expect to win, we encounter only a quiet sorrow. If we’ll listen, we’ll hear His heart:

Do you really want to please Me this way? He asks. After all that I’ve showed you of My grace, do you still think that you have to make yourself look perfect in front of me? Do you forget so easily where your hope rests? You do not have to work to secure My pleasure!

What would please Me more than for you to remember that My Son is the reason we celebrate relating together today? What higher desire could I have for you than that you would remember the One who wore your offense and forever cleansed your soul?

No, that is the thing of ultimate importance to Me concerning you. Therefore, you must quit trying to bless Me with sacrifices and self-promoting acts of religion. Don’t you understand that I don’t want what comes from the flesh?

I know that you can’t comprehend My desire for holiness. But, if you let Me, I will teach you what you must know. I will lead you in clothing yourself with Christ and dancing before Me. This will become your only dress, My child. These are My favorite colors and they can become your favorites too. When we do this together, you will be able to share in My joy. And in My eyes, you will be perfect.