Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List portrays Oskar Schindler weeping in the presence of his employees as he receives the news that the Nazis are defeated. He is not weeping from joy and relief, but from the full conscious realization that he could have done more, a lot more, than he did to save Jewish lives. He could have sold his expensive watch for instance, and with its sale provided for even more rescues. (This was not a historically accurate scene, by the way. It was great drama, and true to the human experience of most of us, but was not a real part of Schindler’s behavior according to those who were there.) Yet Schindler most probably felt that way to some degree. For it is a natural human response when we consider just exactly what we have done, what we could have done, and what we should have done. It reveals the many layers of denial inside us, including the unconscious avoidance of reality of which we are capable.
John tells us in his prologue to his gospel that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Notice that grace comes before truth. For only grace can help us embrace the whole truth. I wrote in a previous note about my struggle to tell the truth (see Clay’s Corner: Telling Yourself the Truth). I have written my story at least five times, with numerous revisions each time. With each writing, I have improved on my ability to see more accurately my true story. I was not lying in the earlier versions. It is just that with each telling, I found I was able to be more honest, to see and own my own sin, and to extend a greater depth of forgiveness to others who sinned against me. And thankfully, I am still in this ongoing process of receiving more of His grace, as I am enlarged by His love for me, to embrace even greater revelations about my true story. We know in part; we prophecy in part. We will not know ourselves fully until we see Him face to face, when we shall know as we are known.
Grace is more than unmerited favor. It goes far beyond that definition to include the actual empowering for manifesting good. It is only grace that will enable us to see the full truth about ourselves and what we have done in life. This revelation may be what Paul refers to in I Corinthians 3 where he describes the believer’s works being tested by fire. Our God is a consuming fire, burning up the dross and purifying the metal of our true selves. Nothing can withstand that heat and light, and we would not want it to. When we see Him, we will be fully alive for the first time in the True Real. Perfect love will give us eyes to see perfect truth.
But enough about the future. What about now? How much reality do we actually experience? What if our normal daily routine was to be pierced through with God’s point of view? Remember, God’s point of view is far better than your best hopes. He never comes to criticize or diminish you. If He reveals truth on a deeper level, it is to help bring you UP, not push you down. But having said that, our ongoing familiar ability to get through the day in a somewhat stable frame of mind may be because we are refusing to see things truthfully. That level of living in denial may go on for an extended period of time so that we can function. But at some point, if we want to really go on with God, we have to come out of our foggy comfort zone. And that begins by Grace and Truth. Only truth can make us free. So to the degree that we are not living in truth, to that degree we are in bondage. And Jesus came to make us fully free. So He will be dealing with our limited vision of life by giving us the grace to face truth as He knows we are ready to see it. Ready? Maybe. Willing though?
Are you willing? Are you even longing for that? Do you trust Him to do it as gently as possible? It may not feel gentle at all, but it will be kind. Even if it is painful. Seeing and embracing the truth is the only way forward to becoming free. And if you are willing to ask Him for this level of His love working in your life, He will do it swiftly. For He has long waited for you to be willing to ask. I have always been strongly resistant to people saying, “You better be careful what you pray for; you may just get it.” I resent that line of thinking because it suggests (if not states) that God just loves to catch you in a prayer by which He can cause you suffering. That to me is borderline blasphemy. Our Father is not looking for a chance to let you have even more pain, but to free you from the lies that bring pain. He waits for us to become willing to ask for more truth, to long to be more like Jesus, which is to say, to become more of our true self.
So maybe Oskar Schindler didn’t weep with profound awareness that he could have done more with the resources and opportunities he had to save others. But he probably felt some degree of awareness that his best was still far short of goodness. And you and I will probably also have great pain over the real truth about ourselves when we see perfectly what we now only see through a glass darkly. Maybe that is partly why Jesus will have to wipe away our tears on the Day when all things are made perfectly clear. But why not begin NOW, letting a greater degree of Reality come awake to us? God is ALL good. God is love. I trust my Father’s revelation of this profound and amazing truth. As I look behind me, the long painful patches of my life were not caused by His lack of grace to me, but by my lack of trust. This is a great moment to ask largely for Him to do in us what He so longs to do. For it is for our great good, which is His great glory, to do it.