Recently, a friend and I were reading through a book entitled Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges, and we were both struck by the same passage. I don't have the book right in front of me, or I would quote it for you, but here's the basic idea:
When I sin and then repent of it, God does not put me in some different category in which I must serve a penance before I can be fit for His work. When I am righteous, that does not entitle me to greater blessings nor make me necessarily more "fit" for God's work.
Let me explain.
Having written about how to confront someone lovingly, I feel it is important to add a postscript to the discussion, and that is: It is not our job to change the other person. It's simply our job to communicate with the other person. Change is up to God.
Over and over, I see people (particularly women) reinterpret the idea of lovingly confronting someone into subtly manipulating someone to change. Let me explain how this works, and why it can be a relationship-killer.
Some time ago, my pastor asked this question in one of his sermons: “How would you live if you knew—without a shadow of a doubt—that you are forgiven?”
That question struck me as a challenge. What would the life lived in the full knowledge of forgiveness look like?
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.