But he was pierced for our transgressions. Is.53:5

Recently somebody criticized one of my children.  This person spoke ugly things behind our backs, holding my child to a very high standard for a very short person.  The worst part?

They were true.

My children are sinners.  This particular child is big-hearted, enthusiastic, affectionate, fiercely loving, loyal, brilliant, sparkling, tender, inquisitive, fun-loving, discerning, astute, exuberant.  This child is a big person in a little package, and I am hungrier for the Lord because He gave me this child.  But just like every member of the human race, this kiddo lives out the besetting sins that twist each sin-flawed soul. Scott and I see these little black roots in both of our children and we do what we can to pray, love and discipline them out.  We want to spare them the pain that will certainly come from unaddressed sin in their lives. But we can only offer the opportunity; we cannot walk in holiness for them.  In this particular situation, my child had repeatedly made the hard choice and received consistent discipline for it.  And now an adult pointed a long finger of condemnation at my little one, not from love or accountability, but in judgment.

When I heard about the scathing words that had dribbled out of this person’s lips, my jaw clenched and my fists balled up.  I may see my children’s sin stains, but they are my babies after all.  My first reaction was to rear up and strike like a mama cobra.  I tried to release my protective torment, but it pierced me. Ragged, I breathed a prayer, Lord, I need help. I need to let this go.  I will not carry the burden of somebody’s else’s legalism.  How do I receive what is life-giving accountability to our family while releasing the poison?  

The Lord told me to go to the bathroom.  I am not making that up.

So I put down my pumpkin ale (which is fabulous, by the way) and walked, bewildered, to the powder room.  Mmmmm-kay.  I closed the door and looked around me.  My eyes locked on two wall plaques that I had hung just a few days before.  Rimmed in simple black, etched in glass, the simple  words “Pray” and “Grace.”


The Holy Spirit whispered to me, So you want to release these judgments?  Pray and walk in grace. Let go of your own legalistic criticisms of this person that are pounding inside of your pierced soul.  Pray in grace.  


But, reluctantly at first, I chose to obey. I prayed for this person’s children, parenting, marriage, intimacy with the Lord, career, character.  I even prayed for this person to have a connected (albeit boundaried) relationship with my child.  I sat on the toilet seat in my powder room, forehead on my knees, hands open, praying anything I could think of for a long time.  As I prayed, a transcendent beauty grew in my (weird) little prayer closet.  The ball of tangled anger unravelled, trailed away.  I saw this person through the eyes of a deeper grace.

Then I prayed for my babies.  I prayed that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies would fight victoriously to overcome the sin-roots in their souls. I prayed for Love to envelope them in safe and everlasting arms.  I prayed that everything hidden in their lives would be brought into the light.  I prayed that God would show Scott and I how to lead them, love them, enjoy them, discipline them in these years that will set the course for the rest of their journeys on this broken planet.  I prayed for love-armor to protect them from the inevitable legalism and judgment that will cloud their callings. I prayed that God would raise up mentors to lead them deeper into holiness and purity.

Grace is a harder, deeper journey.  I used to wonder why more people do not abide under its banner, but now I know.  Grace is excruciating.  It heals by piercing holes in our expectations and draining all of the venom we store behind justice’s dams.  We drink the venom willingly; we do not want it drained.  But Grace insists.  I cannot receive grace if I will not offer it.  I cannot offer it if I will not receive it.  Grace is a beautiful, demanding master.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Gal.5:1.

What do I value in our family? Behavior or character? Performance or relationship?   Legalism or grace?  If I hope and pray for grace, shall I not offer it, even (maybe especially) to those who choose not to offer it to me or to those I love?

Pierced (wounded) in judgment, pierced (healed) in grace.  Wounds vs. healing. That is the chasm between legalism and grace.  Lord, keep me out of the chasm.  May we dwell on the vista of grace.

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and prayer. They will look on Me, the One they have pierced. Zech.12:10.


8 responses »

  1. Interesting post Heidi, although some of what you say appears to contradict a great breadth of scripture. Paul warns against continuing to live in sin that grace may abound. (Roman 6:1-2). Making a polarizing choice between “Behavior or character? Performance or relationship?” fundamentally ignores the correlation of behavior exhibited by a Christian’s character as directed by the Holy Bible to perform out of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Proverbs 20:11, John 14:15-24, James 1:22, James 2:18 – 26, Luke 6:43 – 49, 1 Corintihians 3:13 – 15. I would love to discuss with you about how you reconcile these scriptures with the opinions in your post. Give me a call.

    • Thanks for the comment Corey! I appreciate your thoughts. Its not that we believe that behavior vs. character, etc… are necessarily in conflict, but it changes our perspective when we focus on heart over outward. Thanks again!

    • Where sin abounds grace super abounds …. then below

      “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
      God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” – Romans 6:1-2

      How can you be alive to sin? We are crucified with Jesus. It is no longer me, but Jesus lives in me.

      sin is no longer part of our nature. grace does not cause people to sin. it is the Law,
      “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law” – 1 Corinthians 15:56

      how can we preach about character modification? why do we teach people to observe the law when it brings forth death?

      “because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no sin” – Romans 4:15

      So how does one become dominated by sin?

      “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” – Romans 6:14

      to those who are under grace, definitely you are empowered.
      God is not interested in behavior modification, but heart transformation

      Grace is a person.. Grace is Jesus. By looking unto him, we are transformed.

  2. An incredible post. You’re children will call you blessed. Having an amazing and wonderful handful myself, know that there is no perfect formula other than grace, love and prayer about discipline. An extremely balanced post Heidi.

  3. “And now an adult pointed a long finger of condemnation at my little one, not from love or accountability, but in judgment”
    — those who are under law are quick to point out sin and judgement.


    keep on resting in the love of Jesus. continue posting about grace and the love of God for us

    grace and peace

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