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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Nearsighted/ Farsighted Grace

I was in kindergarten. The teacher thought there was something wrong with me, my "letters" weren't legible. I needed to "Practice". It was kindergarten- LIGHTEN UP!

First grade? More of the same. Hmmmm maybe there is a problem?

Then, the state (or whomever does these things) ran the "vision testing". I flunked.

That's when we discovered I am "Hyperopic". I'm farsighted. I see things more clearly when they are farther away. Close work, like reading, and knitting- without glasses makes my eyes "tired". As I also have "Amblyopia" when my eyes are tired, I end up cross-eyed. It's an interesting look, if I do say so myself.

Vain as I am, I spent years NOT wearing glasses. Getting headaches. Having TERRIBLE handwriting. ( I always will it's too late- I don't care- I have a lap top;) I finally decided seeing is better than vanity. (It's only taken 3o some+ years) I like being able to see and read and knit without feeling like I'm going crosseyed. I wear my glasses.

Sorry for hiding/losing my glasses for all those years, mom;) I think I have recently discovered a few other types of vision problems I may have--- I may be experiencing farsighted grace, as well.

I've been study alot about grace lately. (bear with me- it's connected) There are a number of approaches to the Doctrines of Grace- but the bottom line is- that God- is full of Grace- Grace is His giving us (eternal life) when what we really deserve- is well.... (not) A gift is soething we can't earn, nor can we buy, for ourselves- but we CAN share.

We are called as Christians, to be extensions of Grace, we are to be full of grace towards others- loving patient, kind, and gracious, forgiving. Ours is the ministry of reconciliation.

2 Corinthinians 5:11-21
The Ministry of Reconciliation
"Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

Reconciliation, isn't a word I use in everyday life. The only thing I "reconcile" is my check book. I don't LIKE to ( I hate math) , I do it mostly, cause, if I don't, I make a mess of my finances. ( gee, wonder how I know that? Don't ask..)

Reconciliation in relationships is the calling. When we don't reconcile ourselves to God- and to each other- we make a mess of our relationships, too.

The problem? Sometimes, it's easier to be "graceful" when the people that have "sinned" are far away. Farsighted Grace.

Like, say for instance "Mel Gibson" I was pretty quick to say, He said he's sorry- he's taking responsibility, he's getting help, he's asking for forgiveness.... it was the booze talkin.......let it go, people.

As Mel is not exactly my best friend- nor a family member- he's not CLOSE work for me. But remember, I'm farsighted. It's not the far away things that are tough- it's the close up stuff.

But, I was thinking, what about the people who ARE close work for me? My family, spouse, kids, friends, acquaintances..... am I a minister of reconciliation there? Or do I need to put some spiritual glasses on?

My problem isn't so much for the BIG hurts, but the little ones. Rather like my checking account. It's not the BIG things that throw off my reconciling it... it't the little ones. The debit card charges for $20. that I forget to write in. The $50 charge for gas.... the $7.12 at CVS.

Those are the little things, that throw my account all out of whack.

Then there are the times- when someone hurts someone I love- and my "vision" somehow shifts to "Nearsighted". I am so angry with the offender- that I can't for the life of me view them through Grace- because I hold them so far off- way out of my nearsighted view. I suffer from bad vision of all types on ocassion.

In relationships, we need to make sure, that we are reconciled. Every day. The big things, the small things. All of them.

Grace isn't just a theory-it's a gift. Reconciliation is a holy calling.

I don't think the answer is to poke our eyes out and pretend like we can't see-feel the offenses- (besides, that would hurt) I think the key is to recognize the gift we've been given, and to be willing to share it.

It's also key to wear the dang glasses. Nearsighted ones for nearsighted days- farsighted ones for farsighted days... though- I suppose I am proposing BIFOCALS! (I didn't think I was quite that old- but apparently- I may be;) In my experience, when I don't- it's the same as hiding my glasses in Jr High- I just end up with a headache.

Christ has paid the price. Who am I to demand further payment?

The truth is- I think most of us suffer with eye trouble ocassionally- for some we may struggle with being farsighted- for others- we're nearsighted, in our view of grace. We may find it easier to be gracious to those who are close- while witholding grace from those who are outside our close circle.

What about you? Are you Nearsighted? Farsighted? Is this whole conversation making you "crosseyed"?

In a way- I suppose it should- we all should be cross eyed- focused on this cross-cross1 and yes- I totally get the somewhat cheese of wordplay on that statement- but it's still true. ;)

Somehow- when I see myself and others through what Christ has done- it's lens brings all else into a grace filled focus. Yep- just like those really awesome lineless bifocals... well- ok- maybe not JUST like them-- but you know- it's an ANALOGY;)

Dear Lord- I pray that I will always be crosseyed- in the good way- help me be a gracefilled minister of reconciliation- to those both near and far- I Love you Lord- and thank you for the free gift of your grace- help me to share that gift with others- amen

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