“The things I hate most [about my life] are the things God uses most every day in ministry.”
This is a rough quote from Beth Moore that I jotted down during Bible study last night. She was talking about wrestling at times with her own past, and the many things it contains that she is ashamed of. She mentioned her abusive childhood coupled with her own sinful choices that took her into a life in the pit. She then talked about how she has prayed that God will reminder her of those experiences when she is ministering to people. This allows her to connect with them in a way that at times others can. She said that we often will show the amount of grace that we understand God to have shown us. This means that those who understand and are humbled by the lavish amount of grace God has shown them are more likely to extend grace to others.
I know as a counselor, I face this reality daily. I see so much of myself in others, especially when they are hurting. Much of my compassion comes from the grace I feel on my own life, and I realize that just like Beth, God tends to use parts of my life I regret the most to help me minister to others who are broken and hurting.
When we are contemplating our life of faith — where do we stand with our own past and the grace we show others? Have we accepted our past (no matter how stained it is) and are we readily and openly available to show grace towards others (no matter how stained their past or present is)?