There But For The Grace of God…

I’m a sinner.  I mean, it’s human nature.  We sin.  It’s what we do.  We try not to, but we’re not perfect, so we miss the mark.  Sometimes we miss the mark time after time in the same area and bewail our lack of self control and despair of ever getting it right.

And there is grace to cover all of that, but it’s definitely a work in progress on our end.

I have, in the past couple of weeks, come face to face with the results, in a loved one, of a life spent not wrestling with sin but instead whole-heartedly giving oneself over to it.

It is not pretty.

And that is the understatement of the century.

It has given me pause, robbed me of many hours of sleep and driven me to my knees.  It has been carefully covered over for years by this person (okay, “this person” is awkward – it’s my brother), but it all came to light this week and the consequences are devastating. I’m still working through the balance between my responsibility to love him and my responsibility to protect my family from him.  Fortunately he does not live in the same area, so it’s really more of a decision whether to avoid him on social media than in day to day life.

At any rate, much of my mental energy this week has been devoted to that; I would have expected myself to hash it out here in the safety of this blog, but it’s so distressing I can’t even bring myself to write about it.

The one thing I do feel the need to share, though (or perhaps, the need to write down so I don’t forget it) is a thought that occurred to me this morning about sin and choices.

I realized that the horrendous circumstances that my brother now has to deal with on a daily basis are almost completely due to his own choices.  He has put himself in this situation, not by making a mistake, but by willfully pursuing a lifestyle of debauchery.

I look at the problems I deal with in my own life, and besides the fact that they pale in comparison, I realized this morning that they stem almost completely from outside sources.  Life is hard and at times miserable, but most of it is that way because of someone else’s sin. Or because of disease, or the economy, or problems of society.

Please don’t read here that I think I’m a better person because of this or that I’m so fortunate I’m not a sinner.  Because I am.  I do.

What I saw for the first time today was the difference between being prone to the downfalls of the human condition and choosing, as a lifestyle, to cast off all restraint and run after wicked and immoral things.

I saw for the first time how much suffering I have avoided by choosing, for my entire life, to put God first and to submit myself to Him.  I have done it imperfectly, and as a result have to deal with the consequences of poor choices.  But it’s nothing like the indescribable torment and darkness my brother is dealing with.

We grew up in the same household.  We dealt with some of the same childhood issues.  I chose to run to God, while he chose to run away from Him.  I didn’t know, when I made that choice, and when I kept making that choice, just how life-giving it would be.  He didn’t know, when he made that choice, just how death-dealing it would turn out.

Which is why I am sitting here this morning, marveling at what I now know I avoided, and whispering, with fear and trembling, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

3 thoughts on “There But For The Grace of God…

Add yours

  1. Oh, wow. This is so powerful, Muffy. Thank you for your authenticity and humility. I sit here in silence, pondering your beautiful closing line…”There but for the grace of God go I.” Truth. For all of us. Merry Christmas hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is much wisdom in a life lived by making right choices. The same Lord give opportunity to all to make wise choices. Those who do should not feel embarrassed at having done so. It is only God through us and he gives free will to all. Truly for all it is God’s grace.

    Liked by 1 person

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