So Hosanna Wong released another great performance poem this week called ‘Flex Your Brave’, and it totally had me balling again.
I love the Truth that we can express so clearly in song and spoken word and through the arts.
I love that proclamation.
Showing courage. Fearless. Bold. Audacious. Recklessly daring. Valiant. Lion-hearted.
And Grace is the greatest brave.
This doesn’t sound like me most days. In fact on any given day, sometimes I feel just barely saved.
I get up and life is a war, a battlefield of blazing swords, quickly swerving through the sultry air, nothing that comes my way seems fair.
And at the end of the day, the last thing I want to give is grace.
It would take everything out of me.
And I don’t have it in me.
These battles raging against me look like loved ones constantly hurting me.
Throwing words of hurt at me knowing what they do to me.
Like a sword of heartbreak constantly stabbing me.
These battles look like people holding against me things that I used to be.
Refusing to forgive me though I know I’ve said I’m sorry.
These battles look like people persistently trying to persuade me that I’m failing.
Consistently trying to tear down all that I’ve achieved.
One day they say this and one day they say that, I can’t tell anymore who’s being real with me.
These battles look like gossip.
These battles look like rumours.
These battles look like enemies and accusers.
But they also look like my family.
They look like my best friends.
They look like my church.
They look like the ones I love the most.
And this is why it hurts so much as this battle never seems to end.
And I get why they say that grace is the greatest brave because giving grace doesn’t come easily, it doesn’t feel natural, it is taking every gut and every muscle out of me to give it.
To show courage. To be fearless, bold, audacious, recklessly daring, valiant, lion-hearted.
Is it possible to give it?
And Jesus proved it.
I remember what He did when I was the one warring against Him.
When I was the one throwing swords.
When I was the one living for myself and worshipping the world.
I used to do things to Him that people used to do to me.
I would tell Him I loved Him, promise things to Him and then I’d break those vows repeatedly.
I’d represent Him when I wanted and then turn my back if I felt it was warranted.
I took, and I took and I took from Him, and then I blamed Him if He didn’t give me the next thing I demanded.
I lied to Him, I cursed at Him, I made fun of Him and yet all His grace, He still gave it.
He was courageous enough to take it.
All our disgustingness and carry it onto a cross.
He died with it.
The ultimate form of bravery, He was it.
He gave us a second chance enough though we didn’t deserve it.
For no matter how hurtful the world was being, He believed we were still worth it.
He says, My grace is sufficient, for you. For my strength it made perfect in weakness.
And that could not be more true.
I am weak. I am unworthy.
I don’t want to forgive and love anyone who has hurt me.
But His grace is enough for all of me.
And when I pass that grace on it is Him being made strong inside of me.
I can be brave because Jesus Christ was brave.
He takes our weak arms and gives them muscles far beyond us.
He takes our frail lives and makes heroes out of us.
He takes our dirt and makes a garden out of us.
And with all that He has given us, with how much He has equipped us, He says I geared you up and now you go and be courageous.
We don’t get the luxury of looking like Jesus and holding onto our hurts and our hate.
We don’t get to say that we follow Jesus and then hoard to ourselves what He so freely gave.
We don’t get to condemn the world that Jesus died to save.
He says, Come be brave.
I did not come to save you of all your sins so you could just stay the same.
Grace restores broken families. Grace rebuilds shattered relationships. Grace changes mindsets.
But grace doesn’t just happen.
Someone has to be brave enough to give it.
So flex your brave.
Show courage. Be fearless. Bold. Audacious. Recklessly daring. Valiant. Lion-hearted.
And don’t let the world take your brave away.
Look to Jesus, the king of the courageous.
For at the battle of pain, evil and chaos, the weapon He fought with was grace.
And I also love the reality of these words.
Because I know what it’s like to be in the battlefield. To be rejected. By some of the people that you love the most. And honestly? It’s one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever been through. I know what it’s like to have your mistakes held over you. I know what it’s like to have the people you love with everything you are not believe you.
And I also know what it’s like to have to let go.
Corrie-Ten-Boom described her whole discipleship with the picture of God gently prising her clenched fingers open one at a time. Pride. Unforgiveness. Hatred. Gently having her fingers prised open until she could let go. Until she could live open-handed. Open-handed. Until she could forgive. And she could receive.
I relate to that picture. That God has gently and lovingly, yet still firmly and clearly, spent a long time opening my hands one finger at a time so that I could forgive, and repent, and be forgiven, and finally rejoice in the beauty that He brings out of everything, including the things that I don’t get understand.
To trust completely that when Jesus says, ‘I’ll treasure you’, He truly and forever does, and that He is really the only person that matters.
There is a joy that comes in the place of forgiveness. A deep and real and almost-unexplainable joy, because it involves being given the very love of God rather than resting on our own abilities.
To know that this grace gives us the courage to forgive others. To forgive ourselves.
I often think I’ve got there. I think I’m living open-handed. I think I’ve laid down my hurts and my rights and my pride and my ‘stuff’. And then in prayer, God gently reveals another part of my heart that is still hard and needs softening. Or another part of my pride that is present but needs to become absent. Or another tiny step into the vast expanse of freedom that He has called me to run in.
It takes more faith to live open handed in regards to ourselves sometimes. To trust that although life isn’t where we thought it would be, it is exactly where God knew it would be.
And I can trust Him. Oh boy, can I trust Him.
I can let go, not only of that which I need to forgive in others, but that which I need to forgive in me, knowing that His blood speaks a better Word. He speaks better words. He enables me to say with full confidence like the Apostle John,
I am the one Jesus loves.
That is the truth. For me. For you. That is our identity.
And in that truth there is SO much joy.
Because just as His asking of us to forgive all the sin committed against us seems so… reckless. We are simply following His own perfectly-reckless example in first forgiving us. In dying for us, while we were still sinners.
Restored. Whole. At peace.
Grace is the greatest adventure. Grace is the greatest brave.