Saturday, December 1, 2012

Grace, by M

So, W has been totally dropping the ball lately on updating this blog... which is annoying to me because I'm the one busy and working every night on wedding stuff! Perhaps this public shaming will motivate her to get back with it.

Anyway, per my last post... I've been thinking about grace a lot lately. I think this is because relationships (and dare I say engagement and marriage in particular) have a unique way of showing you just how much you need it. One of me and my fiance's favorite pastors is Tommy Nelson from Denton Bible Church, who did an awesome marriage sermon series several years ago on Song of Solomon. (Seriously, go download it for free on iTunes... now!). Anyway, in one of the sermons, Tommy says that being sinful and being single is like one hand clapping... you have faults and issues but you just don't know it yet. Preparing for marriage and being married means that all of a sudden your sin has something to "clap against"... and it becomes suddenly much more obvious what all of your issues are. I'm beginning to think that this is true.

And I'm not talking about all these big, dramatic things... just small realizations of "man, I guess I really am selfish" or "maybe I do have a lot of pride" etc etc because all of these things start meeting resistance... they start getting in the way. This is part of the beauty and purpose marriage, so it's not necessarily bad, just the name of the game, I suppose. All of this to say... I'm learning a lot about grace these days.

Earlier this week I read a post from one of the blogs that I regularly follow... it has haunted me ever since. Here's what it said:

"William Kitchens was executed in 2000 for the rape and murder of Patricia Webb.
These were his final words:
I just don’t know how to tell y’all I am sorry for what I did. There is no way for expressing I am sorry. I just hope that in some kind of way that y’all can move on and find peace in your life.

The Lord has given me peace and that is all that I pray for is that y’all can find that peace. I just want you to know that I am sorry for what I done. I can’t change that, all I can do is say I am sorry, that’s nothing for what I have done. I can’t replace your loss. I am sorry. I just want you to know that I love all of y’all. It’s been a pleasure, y’all just keep on with life, it’s gonna be good. The Lord’s gonna be with us.

If it’s alright, I just want to say a prayer first. Father, God, I just thank you for the time that you have given me on this earth, for having mercy on somebody like me for all the despicable thing’s I’ve done in my life, Father, but you still with your love and your mercy reach down into my heart and changed it before it’s too late.

I ask that you bestow peace upon the family of Patricia Webb, that you let them know, Father, that you are in a place where they can obtain that peace, and you will help them move on in their life, Father. Help them, Father, to find it in their hearts, not for my sake , but for yours, and their sake to, Father, find it in their heart to forgive me for what I have done.

Father, I just ask that you be with my family and comfort them to move on Father. Father, we are all here today for the mistake that I have made and I thank you for your mercy for sending your Son into this life, that we might come to know you, Father. Father, I pray for these Wardens and the officers and the people that deal with all of this, Father, I ask that you touch their hearts, Father, and if there is any wrong to it, that you will forgive them, Father. Just let them know that you love them, Father, and that You are the way. I just thank you and in Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen. I love y’all, y’all take care. I am so sorry.
My prayer is that all of us will remember just how desperately in need of grace we are.  We need forgiveness as much as William Kitchens.  We need radical mercy." -
I just cannot get this story out of my head.  I think it's because I can't believe how much faith this guy had on his dying day (literally). I can't get over how confident he was that God had forgiven him, that God did love him regardless of his actions, and that he could find peace and comfort in God's grace. It is an incredible story of incredible faith! And, if I'm honest with myself, it's also a bit convicting. When I fail and when I fall, do I accept God's grace or do I wallow in guilt and shame? Do I proclaim the good news of forgiveness and mercy or do I spend my energy feeling bad and beating myself up?

I want to take a cue from this man... a murderer beloved and redeemed by an awesome God. Amazing.

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