Monday, February 25, 2013

"Man up" or "Man-up-ulate"

Many times I find myself sharing how God spoke to me through my failures.  Today, I am excited to share a victory!

When I was a little girl, like most kids, I did not want to be in trouble.  If I messed up, I would often try to hide it or manipulate (lie) to get out of trouble.   It didn't always work, but it worked enough that I kept trying to hide my mistakes.

"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man (or woman), I put away childish things."  1 Corinthians 13:11

As I grew into an adult, I continued in this childish behavior.  I would make excuses for why was late for work or why I did not do something expected of me.

I would disguise my delinquency with a mask of justification. 

Justification for wrong actions is as old as Adam and Eve.  Adam was the first to justify his wrong action, blaming Eve and God (Genesis 3:12).

After I become a Christian and starting living for the Lord, sadly, I cannot say this character flaw changed immediately.  I continued to justify wrong behavior, making rationalizations for errors in judgement.

I wish I could say I always make the right decision now.  However, this side of heaven, that statement would be nothing short of a lie, no matter who was saying it.

Now, as a Christian, often my mistakes are just that, "mistakes" or oversights.  With three kids, a husband, ministry service, a job, kid's activities, a home, and a 105 pound dog, there is a lot of room for error or forgetfulness.  Whenever I blunder in a responsibility, my first instinct is to shout for "GRACE".  Afterall, we all mess up from time to time.  Can't a girl get a break?!
Grace is important and I am very thankful for it, but we are not entitled to it.  There is something about entitlements that cause us to lack gratefulness.  Oh Lord, let us never be lacking in gratefulness for grace!

Sometimes when we mess up, we just need to face the consequences or, as my husband would say, we need to "Man up".   There have been plenty of times I have attempted to manipulate the consequences while concealing manipulation with shouts of grace.

We need to "man up" and not "man-up-ulate"!

Last week, God decided to call me out on this.  I wasn't aware I did it until He revealed it to me.  Sin is deceptive and often we don't know something is sin until God shows us.

I messed up at work and forgot to turn in a report.  I caught the error in plenty of time.  However, my boss has implemented a monetary "penalty" for late reports.  This penalty would cost me dearly.  I didn't think the penalty was fair and I didn't really want to pay it.  I hadn't been late before, my supervisor had overlooked it, and I had caught the mistake in plenty of time before it would cost my employer.  So, I decided to play the "grace card" with my boss. 

My employer did point out that if she gave me grace it wouldn't be fair to the other employees.  However, my "grace card" appeared to be working and she pretty much said she would give me grace this time, but not to expect it in the future.  Then, God began dealing with me.

"Tell your boss she is right and you will pay the penalty."  

Ouch!  Really?!  But Lord....Ok.

"Sue, don't look at it as she is taking something from you.  Instead, give it to her and I will bless you."

The Lord showed me that if I would willingly give her the fine instead of begrudgingly feel as if she was taking from me, He would honor my choice.  I could have paid it with a wrong attitude and missed out on a blessing from the Lord.
Jesus gave us the freedom of grace.  The price Jesus freely paid on the cross gave us the grace of eternal salvation.  The grace poured out on the cross doesn't negate the physical consequences sometimes inevitable by our earthly actions.

May we never use grace again as a means of manipulation.  Let's "Man up" and not "man-up-ulate!"

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