The War Between Guilt and Grace
Something has been weighing on me all week. After I attended the March for Our Lives on Saturday, I posted a photo on Facebook of a friend holding a poster that said that if guns were in our vaginas, they’d be regulated. My sister said the poster was vulgar. She implied that my friend is advocating for abortion rights instead of against gun violence and that by attempting to shock people, she harmed the gun control movement.
I knew when I shared the picture of my friend’s poster that it might offend some people. A year ago, I wouldn’t have done it. Too often, I have let myself be paralyzed by the fear of what people think. That fear kept me from expressing myself as freely as other people do. I hid the real me. The real me is not a social conformist. The real me is not perfect, the real me makes mistakes, and the real me loves people who are flawed like I am.
I can understand my sister being repulsed by the words my friend chose; I don’t like the mental image of a gun down there either. I don’t like guns period. Even that offends some people. But I understood the point my friend was trying to make and I chose to share it.
I felt ashamed and embarrassed when my sister said my friend’s words were vulgar. I thought about the people from church who may have seen my Facebook photo. Would they think that I’m a bad person for sharing it? But they already know that I am a sinner. Why should I worry about them knowing what they already know?
In the song, Grace Wins, Matthew West sings about the war between guilt and grace. I have been fighting that battle this week. In my mind’s eye, I see people shaking their heads in disgrace, disappointed in me, asking who do you think you are?
In my weakest moment I see you
Shaking your head in disgrace
I can read the disappointment
Written all over your face
Here comes those whispers in my ear
Saying who do you think you are
Looks like you’re on your own from here
Cause grace could never reach that far
Against You and You Only
My church has been studying Psalm 51, David’s plea for God’s mercy after Nathan confronted him about his sins. David asked God for mercy and said, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.”
I cried and prayed this week about my own feelings of shame. There is no shame in not being the person my sister wants me to be though I am sorry for any distress I cause her. There is shame in not bringing glory to God. Against God, and only God, have I sinned. By being irreverent. By being full of pride. By not being pure of heart.
In my inmost place, I know that it’s not over. Grace does reach this far. I’m living proof, grace wins every time.
For the prodigal son, grace wins
For the woman at the well, grace wins
For the blind man and the beggar, grace wins
For always and forever, grace wins
For the lost out on the street, grace wins
For the worst part of you and me, grace wins
For the thief on the cross, grace wins
For a world that is lost
There’s a war between guilt and grace
And they’re fighting for a sacred space
But I’m living proof
Grace wins every time