I think we often forget that we all are imperfect people. That no matter how much we try to improve on ourselves, at the end of the day we are imperfect, we are flawed and we are definitely going to make mistakes time and time again. In order to preserve community though, we need to be able to show each grace and mercy. I read a statement the other day that gave me pause "I don't want people to mistake my mercy for approval." If I'm honest, I hurt a little at that statement - because who am I to judge how you take my mercy or my grace offered in love? If I'm offering grace or mercy in real love + from the right place, it's not up to me how you interpret it. If, in our circles, we could realize that, just like the car in the photo, we all have some scraped paint, a few dinks and some worn spots. And yet, there is beauty in us because we have character, just like this car.
Can I remind you? Our calling isn't to judge the responses to our love, our calling is to love. We weren't commissioned to withhold mercy for fear of how others will perceive it, we were commissioned to spread good news to hurting people. When we withhold good things for fear of bad, we have already undone any work we would endeavor to do.
"If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him? My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. "(1 john 3:17-18)