My recent travels were a whirlwind. The harsh weather, along with my still recovering body, made the fast paced journey quite the experience. The look on my precious Katherine’s face when I surprised her at her wedding made it all worth it, for sure. That alone would have made my trip worthwhile, but a date with Mama Karise certainly put the icing on the cake for me.
In the middle of the chaos of life and busy schedules, Karise and I trekked through the snow to our local Starbucks. Cuddled up in the corner, drinking our favorite drinks, we talked about life directions, dreams and visions, lessons learned, and sin and its consequences.
I wish there was a graceful way to talk about sin. (I intended no pun in that statement, as we all know sin, for the believer, is entirely grace-full.)
What I mean is that there is no easy or charming manner by which the topic of sin can be addressed, because the reality is that sin is all but charming.
Luckily, with those in our inner circle, there is no need for delicate prefaces or precautions. Complete exposure, in the presence of a friend, breeds security. As Brennan Manning says, “There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples who never wear a false face or pretend to be anything other than who they are.”
In the safety of my dear friend, expecting to be sharpened, I held nothing back. I exposed my sins of the last year, almost nonchalantly. I don’t mean to say that my sins are not a big deal. They are. And what was to follow in my conversation with Karise was one of the most beautiful pieces of wisdom I have ever absorbed.
Never losing her sweet smile, Karise listened and took in all I was saying about the last year and the lessons I have learned. Her very presence created an atmosphere of safety and security. After hearing all I had to say, Karise giggled a little and said,
“You know, Laura, the beautiful thing is this: You’ve always been just like the rest of us, but now you know it.”
And that is the truth.
If you are hearing this in a condescending “you’re just like everyone else” manner, just keep reading.
Upon exploring these thoughts and taking them before the Lord, I was astonished at my findings. I, Laura Michelle Reed, have always been capable of every kind of sin. I was never above or beyond it.
The problem? I believed I was above sin. And that was a sin in and of itself- a sin called pride.
When faced with situations holding the potential for sin, I shook my head, firmly believing I was above such things. Deciding assuredly that I was stronger than the enemy, I walked right into my sin, only to be awakened to my own true weakness. Never once did I recognize that I was in sin all along, thinking more highly of myself than I ought.
So, my sin led me into more sin, as sin does. And the beautiful thing is this:
I was always like everyone else- ENTIRELY CAPABLE OF EVERY TYPE OF SIN.
And now I know it.
What makes this so lovely? A true awareness of my sin creates a platform for a true perspective on grace.
I have lived most of my Christian life avoiding grace, at every cost, and finding every way to deny my need or allowance for grace. The reality is, the only way to live a life sans grace is to live a life sans sin, and that will never happen.
Perhaps I was naive. Perhaps I was immature. Perhaps it was both. Irrespective, I birthed and grew a belief that I could avoid sin, and therefore avoid the need for grace.
Manning, clearly a favorite for me, also states, “To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side, I can learn who I am, and what grace truly means.”
I couldn’t say that better myself. No, really, I couldn’t.
The bottom line is this: I need grace, and I always have. The difference is, now I know it.
And that changes everything.