Monday, May 11, 2015

"Players in Our Own Crime Drama"

The phrase comes from the May 8th devotion, by Deb Grant, in the April-June 2015 The Word in Season devotional (Augsburg Fortress Press). Grant makes the point that many of us are very hard on ourselves. "We are defendant, prosecution, judge and jury" concerning our failures and faults, but thereby we "dismiss God's forgiveness quickly." She writes, "We have a choice. We are free to be all the players in our crime drama, or we can believe that God knows what God is doing in setting us free."

What a wonderful reassurance, for this is surely a challenge for many of us: letting our feelings of low self-worth, self-condemnation, and painful "tapes" drown out the beautiful grace and love of God that lifts away our burdens. Not only does God love us so much more than we love ourselves, but God also works in our lives for good and for healing rather than for condemnation.

It can be a powerful experience when someone can mediate that divine love to you. I'll always feel grateful to a trusted teacher (years ago) who declared for me God's forgiveness and love, when I was so consumed with worry and regret concerning a problem. If this teacher had been scolding and critical--as so many people can be---instead of loving and sensitive, I would have sunk more deeply into the pain that was blinding me to God's care. But instead I was able to hold fast to God's grace, which saw me through.

Another aspect of all this: when my feelings of self-worth are low, I tend to be more critical and impatient with others, if only in the privacy of my own home or car. But even though these feelings are expressed privately, my fussy words awaken and alert me to my inner pain. Instead, the more I rest in God's love, the more loving and empathetic I feel---I'm less quick to be prosecutor and judge toward human failings in others (which are often my own failings, too).

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