Expectations -Tempered Grace

Posted: October 6, 2011 in Expectations, Wandering Thoughts

“You are most powerful when you are most silent. People never expect silence. They expect words, motion, defense, offense, back and forth. They expect to leap into the fray. They are ready, fists up, words hanging leaping from their mouths. Silence? No.”― Alison McGhee

What do people do when i fail to live up to their expectations for me? Some turn away – break the relationship, what kind of a solution is that? The question came to me, what about when i fail to live up to God’s expectations? By virtue that i am asking that question it means that i believe He has them. To think God does not have expectations for me is to believe in an impersonal, hazy, vague, indistinct, or confused god; a non-entity? Does God turn away from me when i
fail to live up to His expectations?

My answer will bother some people – but my answer is, sometimes yes. The problem is that there is no pattern for me to figure out, not form or function that i can make sense of, so as to monitor my behavior. In the Old Testament, when the people of God failed to live up to the covenant relationship with God, He withdrew His power and protection and the people suffered the consequences of oppression, tribulation and even destruction. In the New Testament, Jesus made His expectations clear to those who would follow Him, and when they weren’t willing to accept them or live up to them, He moved on. He didn’t lower His expectations in order to appease the people (rich young ruler, Pharisees, people of Nazareth, man who wanted to bury his father [Jesus said, “let the dead bury the dead”, ouch!], even the cripple at the pool [Jesus said, “Do you want to be well? Then get up and walk!”]. Jesus never changed the expectations so people would like Him or follow Him. But with God in the Old Testament and God in the Flesh, Jesus, in New Testament when the people failed to live up to His expectations, all that was needed to restore the relationship was repentance: “I’m sorry Lord; I blew it. I let You down and I’m sorry. I’m ready to get back on track with You.” And His response was/is always, “You’re already forgiven. Let it go, don’t look back. Let’s move forward.” (Thank you, Lord, for You’re amazing grace!)
i wish it was like that in my relationships with others? Too often i’m expected to jump through hoops before there is a willingness to forgive (a sign they don’t understand grace or true forgiveness). And in some cases, well… it doesn’t matter what i do, it will never be let go. The record of wrongs done keeps me from giving real forgiveness. Then as more people fail to live up to my expectations the record gets bigger and harder to carry. It might be said that, “life’s too short not to live by grace.”

In Matthew 11 Jesus says, “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”

Learn – Acquire experience – Acquire ability – Acquire skill

Unforced- Not resulting from undue effort.

Rhythms – A specific kind of such a pattern

Grace – favor rendered by one who need not do so

First i learn about God. i learn how gracious He is. i learn that He can handle events in ways that i couldn’t dream of or anticipate. i see him work things out in ways that i could never have guessed. i learn that i always triumph in Him.

Then i learn about myself. i learn that we are not as strong as i thought i was. i learn that i wanted to bail out much sooner than i thought i would.

When this inner strength of character is developed in this learning process, i find hope… i need to possess HOPE. (To look forward to with confidence or expectation🙂

So “IF” i am going to have expectations they should be tempered by grace – the grace that God has given me.

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Comments
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