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GRACE that is defined by LOVEGRACE that covers a multitude of sins. My sins. Your sins. Our sins. Their sins. Just plain sin. Our self-determined independence from relationship with God, our Creator and the one true Lover of our souls.

ALL sin…covered by the blood of Christ, so that sin itself is no longer the issue.

Does that statement raise your hackles? When you think of behaviors, especially the behaviors of others, do you think in terms of degrees? Do you see some behaviors as more “sinful” than others? Surely God must hate that behavior more than this behavior… What is that tendency in us all about, anyway?

This is an area I have been struggling with for years. I know that we are admonished over and over in the Scriptures, “Do not judge!” And yet, if I am honest with myself, the evidence reveals that I, in fact, do judge. I am far less likely today to rate sin on a scale and compare one person’s failure to another and therefore judge one more or less worthy than the other. I have definitely seen progress in that area of judging.

BUT, a more subtle judgment still persists. And that judgment centers around what I will call personal preference. There are some people I like more than others, some I have more tolerance for, some that I prefer to pray for, to encourage, to believe in and choose to see the face of God in.

Now before you go and say, but of course that’s true. That’s simply human nature. Nobody likes everybody. Some personalities just clash. It’s not possible to love everyone we meet. {All arguments I have made on my behalf, by the way.} Let’s slow down, and instead of justifying ourselves and our personal failures, let’s “come and reason together with God” and allow Him to reveal His heart in this matter.

As I read today’s My Utmost for His Highest, I was reminded again of the importance and the power found in intercession. Discovering God’s design for prayer is an important theme in my life (you might want to read Thursday’s post as well). Sometimes it seems that every direction I turn, I see and hear the Spirit saying the same thing in different ways. I like to call these moments Sacred Echoes. In the past few weeks, the Sacred Echoes for me have been all about intercession in its various forms.

I am reminded of the story of Abraham stopping short of asking for God to pour out His grace and mercy over Sodom and Gomorrah – in fact, just 15 people short. Abraham’s vision of God’s desire to redeem, restore, and renew was not big enough to cover the wickedness he had chosen to ignore.

The same is true for me, and perhaps for you (even for us as a community of believers?). The question to ask is this: Where do I stop short in my faith, in believing and trusting in God’s unconditional love and grace that has paid for EVERY sin, because I do not want to face the unconfessed, unaddressed, oh how I want to just ignore it, sin in myself? Can you relate? Have you ever found yourself feeling that prick in your conscience as you start railing against what so-and-so just did, and then running in fear of acknowledging the very same tendency in yourself? I have.

Stopping short. Choosing to focus on their sin. Continuing to judge them while excusing or just plain ignoring my own guilt. A certain, sure block to the work of the Spirit in me. And therefore to the work of intercession to which He has called me and equipped me through His Spirit. Is there hope? How can I find cleansing and renewing from my tendency toward judging others and excusing myself or even just plain ignoring myself?

We are not asked to do the cleansing, just the stepping into His Light and confessing what the Spirit of God reveals. (See I John 1:5-10) We don’t have to make it up, dig it up, work it up, or even think it up! We just need to listen to the Holy Spirit, He will reveal just what needs to be revealed for this moment, for what He has prepared us to face and bring into His Light. HIS LOVE covers a multitude of sins. HIS LOVE is what enables us to receive and live in HIS GRACE!

Remember, HE is the One who is faithful and just!

And then, our work of intercession, based solely on the GRACE of God, can become real and effective. After all, His promise in James 5:16 is…

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Let’s not stop short. Holy Spirit, come! Do Your work in us and prepare us to BE the beautiful Body of Christ effectively interceding on behalf of those around us. May we be effective as the agents of change, of creating beauty and order out of the chaos around us, that You created us to be!

GRACE that is defined by LOVEGRACE that covers a multitude of sins.