George Tarr

My Favourite Trait

On rare and bitter-sweet occasion, I am struck by just how much, how often, and how far I have fallen short. I read, on those days, the lists of things which God hates, and find that I am guilty in all. All – and while having known God, too. I read also the lists of things which He loves, and find that I have demonstrated so few of them properly; so many of them weakly and intermittently. And as I try to be sorry for all of this, I find my remorse inconsistent and insufficient. I have no arguments to defend myself (though I continue to make them) and if I should arrive at Heaven’s Gates and be turned away, I should (if sensible) have nothing at all to say. Nothing but “I was seriously hoping Jesus had this covered, and if He does not, I have no plea nor protest to offer.”

This sounds all very dramatic perhaps, and I assure you that, knowing myself, if I were actually turned away at the Gate there would probably be much kicking and screaming, and much pointing to rather unimpressive acts of kindness, or rather unimpressive excuses. Such is my provable inability to hold onto truth consistently.

Yet, today I am struck by these golden lines:

“And while he was still a long way off, the father saw his son and was filled with compassion. He ran to him from afar and embraced him and kissed him.”

This son he held was coated in pig muck. All that he had inherited he spent on harlots and parties, returning empty-handed to a man he once deeply knew and then thoroughly rejected, leaving him behind for years and years.

I insufficiently worship a gracious, gracious king.

This grace is something truly amazing. It is almost impossible to convey unless you have consciously found yourself in need of receiving or giving it. It is an attribute which I lack, and have woefully lacked at times, hypocritically and to much damaging consequence. Yet it is the attribute I adore more than any other trait. I am positively in love with gracious people. Gracious book characters. Stories about grace. They bewilder me to the point of tears. To run towards those who have most wronged you, before they even speak a word of repentance. Ah, how perfect it would be to master such an art of love! I yearn, through and through, to be that character, and to write that tale into all that I do and speak. It is singularly the best thing – a good enough story to make a whole universe just to tell it.

Whether you believe or do not believe in the Christian God, I hope you know what He is like. He is Grace exemplified in full. He is utterly aware of and utterly grieved by all that is wicked and cruel and painful in this world. He is utterly affected by it; utterly wounded, like the deepest sting of betrayal or rejection you have ever felt. And there he is poised, utterly ready to run towards those who inflicted these scars, weeping and stooping, laying down his life to see them free. Do no wrong, and then die for them that hurt you most – then you will know the grace of my King.

 

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