But I’m an imperfect person, and therefore an imperfect parent. That means as much as I hate it, I have already done things to harm the fragile psyches of my beloved little boys, and I’ll continue to make mistakes that hurt them emotionally. Yet the last thing I want to do is to embitter them, to plant bitter roots that can grow and infect others. The writer of Hebrews understood this completely, warning “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” (12:15) In essence, bitterness is like any other weed, it has the potential to take over, to choke out the life around it. The weed killer is the grace of God, and we cannot fail to obtain it.
So bitter roots are eradicated by the grace of God, that’s great news. But how do we obtain the grace of God? We simply admit we don’t have all the answers. We admit that we’ve fallen short. We acknowledge that in our human effort we will always fall short. Wouldn’t it be terribly arrogant to maintain otherwise? And yet the existence of sin is forcefully resisted. There’s an ever-present temptation to compare ourselves to others. We tell ourselves that we not as bad as this person and certainly not as bad as that person. But it’s not relative. Other people aren’t the standard. God is. And Jesus lived the standard here on earth in human flesh. A lack of information is not our problem.
So to obtain the grace of God, all you have to do is acknowledge your own need. And to quote Beth Moore, “Once we get it, we give it.”
So my prayer this week is all about grace. I’m praying that I will get grace. That I’ll understand it like never before, that I’ll give it like never before. My prayer is also that my boys will get it and give it, even to their very own mother.