“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:47
We seem to be on a cosmic quest to establish our value—to prove it, earn it, deserve it. And once we find what we’re looking for, we relax—but only momentarily. Eventually, the people we are pleasing—whether a parent, a spouse, a friend, an advisory board, or an audience—quit sending us love messages. Ultimately we find ourselves back on our endless quest. And that unfulfilling quest makes it nearly impossible to love like Jesus. Why?
Because we can’t give grace to others when we aren’t receiving it ourselves. When we’re busy earning acceptance from God, we start to think everyone else should earn it too. Judgmentalism creeps in. Self-righteousness appears.
If you want to be a better grace-giver, you’ve got to continually and consciously receive the grace God gives you. “Whoever has been forgiven only a little,” Jesus said, “loves only a little.” The more grace we receive, the more love we give. When we aren’t cognizant of God’s unconditional acceptance in our own lives, we can’t give it to others. Judgmentalism sees to that.
Here’s the truth: God’s grace is received, not achieved. Grace does not depend on what we have done for God but rather what God has done for us. And continually receiving God’s grace—in the deepest and most central parts of our beings—is the only true and lasting remedy to ugly judgments and holier-than-thou attitudes. “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable,” said C. S. Lewis, “because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
Love is not the cause of grace. It’s the proof of it.
When we are conscious of God’s grace in our own lives, we are automatically more loving and accepting of others. I’m not naive about our judgments. I don’t think it’s possible to live a life where we never judge anyone, ever. But once you embrace God’s grace, once you raise your consciousness around this gift you are continually given, you get immeasurably closer to loving like Jesus.