Monday, October 31, 2011

Welcome Signs and Doormats

In my kitchen is a cute fall Welcome sign. I put it out on the counter every September and leave it there until I put it away as the Christmas decorations descend from the attic. It's orange and green with cream-colored trim. Everything about it screams fall decor. And that one little word, Welcome, makes me feel a little more lively, as I hope it does for anyone who enters my kitchen. I hope it says, You've been invited into my kitchen, and you are welcome here.

At the entrance to my front door is a decorative black words, just a design. I keep it there for people to wipe the grass, dust or mud off their shoes before entering my home. I often have to pick it up and sweep beneath it because the black rubber pieces that make up the design fall off. It's not in the good shape it was when I bought it, but it still serves its purpose.

Offering grace is like the welcome sign, not like the doormat.

Grace welcomes others in. Grace says I love you, no matter what. Grace wants what's best for others. However, grace does not mean we have to be like the doormat and allow ourselves to be trampled upon. When we allow ourselves to be trampled over, allowing others to rob us of our joy and peace, we may still serve our purpose, but we are no longer in good condition...just like my doormat.

In Matthew 21, when Jesus walked into the temple and saw the evil being done there, He overturned tables and seats. He called out those who robbed His "house." (v. 13) Just because He was {is} grace didn't mean he had to sit down, shut up and avoid a confrontation in order to appease the robbers.

Grace does not mean contradicting our core beliefs and values just to please or appease another. It does not mean keeping the peace at any and all costs. Romans 12:18 says, If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peacably with all. (NRSV) And as much as we may want peace, as I recently read in a book titled Boundaries: We can't bring peace to someone who doesn't accept it!

Sometimes, living in grace means having enough grace on yourself to avoid the freight train that would run right through your front door and trample all over you. Sometimes living in grace means we must sit quietly and allow God to fight for us.

Of one thing I am certain: living in grace and offering grace does not mean we have to be a doormat for someone else's disregard and disdain. But, we must hang our welcome sign so they know they are loved.

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