Silence, A Step Into Messy Grace

"A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning others he is babbling ceaselessly. But there may be another who talks from morning till night and yet he is truly silent."
[Abba Poemen]

Have you ever said something stupid? Have you ever opened your mouth and found yourself surprised and horrified by what came out of it? What am I saying - of COURSE you have. It's in our DNA. We are often defined by our lack of silence.

I do this, people. I so do this. And I'm trying to teach myself to NOT do it. I'm tired of vomiting out words that I can't take back. I'm tired of the kind of wounding it creates in other people. I'm not saying I do this OFTEN, but I do it often enough. It's painful.

You've heard me say it over and over - I want to live a life of grace; I want to create a culture of grace that welcomes all kinds of messy, dirty people into the realm of forgiveness and mercy. I'm not always good at it, but I'm always aware of my need for it.

Silence is step one. The kind of silence that teaches our hearts to extend mercy first and leaves condemnation alone in the cold. Let's not give room to shame; neither the shame that penetrates our own hearts and keeps us stunted, nor the shame that floods from our own locked up hearts into our words and actions. Let's stop stumbling around spilling out the kinds of opinions that are rooted in spiritual ignorance.

Let's get quiet. Let's get quiet every day. We're here together, building a new way that is really an ancient way. We're here together, choosing THE Way. Our first step is this: we get quiet inside of our own hearts. We listen to the Spirit, who is always speaking, always breathing into us. We stop letting our thoughts rip us, and others, apart. Because our thoughts will become our words and our words will become our actions. There's no room for that kind of babbling in messy grace. We have to let the dirty fingers of broken people touch our faces without flinching. We have to breathe in their stench and offer them clean, cool water. We have to quiet our thoughts and stop judging. We'll never know, live, breathe and own grace unless we do. If we skip this, we're already lost.

Let's do it today. Just today. And then let's do it tomorrow. Then the next day, and the next. Instead of trying to force ourselves to stomach the disfigured filth of hurting people, let's learn to face our own gunk. Let's get quiet enough to heal. Maybe then we won't feel the need to judge anymore. Maybe then we'll find ourselves in a deep spiritual silence. Maybe then we'll find our words and our actions are following our thoughts into a holy place.

First step: silence. Go.

*February 2013