[bl]Y[/bl]ou give, and it’s rejected. You offer, and it’s not received. What then? What do you do when your love and grace isn’t welcomed by others?
It happens all the time in my household. One son hurts another, realizes his mistake and apologizes. But the one who got hurt rejects the I’m sorry with No you’re not! or You did it on purpose! Or, he simply won’t say the hoped for and easy response It’s okay.
It’s hard to receive grace when you’re hurting.
I’m never fully sure how to advise my children in these moments. I get that it’s difficult to acknowledge the one who hurt you and receive an apology in the midst of pain or resentment. And I also think when grace is given it should always be received. Because through grace, God is made known. Through grace, we are restored, redeemed. And whether or not we’re ready to hear or see or touch or receive it, grace will always be good for us. Because all grace is from God. No matter who is giving it. Whether it’s a Christian or an unbeliever – when a God created soul acts on grace, the very source is from above.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1)
And grace is a good and perfect gift.
But the reality is, not all love, not all grace is received. Because in our broken reality, we don’t just love with condition, we also receive with condition.
Maybe you’ve tried to befriend someone and they won’t reciprocate.
Or you’re a mother who gives all day long, and no one really affirms you for who you are and what you do.
Or you’ve apologized to someone, but they won’t forgive.
Or maybe you’re a wife who’s trying desperately to make it work, but he leaves anyway.
Or a husband who tries so hard to please, but it’s never enough.
Or maybe you’re an unbeliever whose grace looks different, and it’s judge by us who think we’ve figured it all out.
Or you’re a speaker of truth, and the ears that hear misinterpret or reject.
Or maybe the grace you have to offer hasn’t been rejected, but you are holding it tight because you fear it will be.
As grace givers, we will likely find ourselves in situations and relationships where others don’t want what we have to offer. Love. The truth. Jesus. Forgiveness. Service. An apology. Help. Encouragement. All these acts of grace that heal the broken, touch the hurting, and bring to light the source of it all.
And this offering what we have, and it’s not received – this is where Jesus lives. This is the place he finds himself among his very creation.
He offers living water, and we reach for bottled.
He offers food that nourishes, and we snack all day on manufactured and artificial.
He places before us blessing through faith, and we choose heartache through fear.
He wants the whole of us, but we only give him the really spiritual part.
He offers his whole being to us, but we only want the parts of him that make sense.
Jesus gives, and we don’t receive.
So in this giving and not receiving, we are not alone. He understands the hurt in feeling rejected. He knows the pain in not being welcomed. He knows we will enter places where we are not welcomed, where he is not welcomed. But he sends us anyway. Because the need for grace is far and deep and wide. And so, in Luke 10 Jesus gives us hospitality truths as he prepares his servants to be sent like lambs among wolves.
When you enter a house, first say, “Peace to this house.” If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.
Peace, a way of grace. If you bring peace to a house or person who does not value peace, then you will not be able to give it. Rather, it will come back to you, that you may give it to another.
When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.”
When grace is not received, we must accept that we cannot make people take it , speak a warning of God’s will on earth, and remember that it not man that is being rejected. It is not us who is not welcomed. It’s the Truth we represent. It’s the light that overwhelms the dark. It’s the Love that drives out fear.
Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.
When we offer ourselves to others as a living sacrifice; when we serve and love and give through grace – we aren’t offering ourselves. We’re offering Jesus. And when we are received, it is HE who is received. And when we are rejected, it is HE who is rejected.
Knowing it’s not me, changes everything. It’s less personal. Less demobilizing. But oh, it makes it all the sadder. For I’d much rather people reject me than Christ. For I know what he has to offer. And I wish for all people to feel it, experience it, know it and live it.
Not everyone is in a place to receive grace. We are not called to judge them for it. We are not always called to keep pursuing the same place of rejection.
We are called to try. To offer. To Give. To respond. To go to the people and places he calls us to. And to lay the rest before the One who knows the hearts, the soil, the readiness of those we are giving to.
#217 The yard that welcomes me
#218 The girl who needs Jesus
#219 The testimony of faith and provision
#220 The worship that centered on adoption
#221 The resentment that I know will be taken from me
#222 The fear of giving that has dissolved
#223 The tree I wake to every morning
#224 The iced latte I’m about to have