Grace Among Us

025 - What if I want to win? Grace and my enemies.

August 24, 2023 Carri Adcock and Ebony C. Gilbert Season 1 Episode 25
Grace Among Us
025 - What if I want to win? Grace and my enemies.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered about the concept of grace and how it could alter your perception of your "enemies"? This transformative conversation, hosted by Carri Richard and Ebony Gilbert, audaciously tackles this complicated subject, opening up a new dimension on the power of tolerance, understanding, and love. We engage in a hard-hitting discussion, challenging the traditional views of grace and its applicability in our relationships, particularly those that are strained and difficult.

We navigate the rough terrains of challenging relationships, shedding light on the aspect of grace in these contexts and how it can potentially lead us back to love and understanding. Carri and Ebony share their insight on how prayer can act as a catalyst, empowering us to forgive and see the humanity in those we believe have wronged us. Our exploration doesn't end there; we also discuss self-kindness and the ability to recognize opportunities to extend grace. This is a chance to redefine your understanding of grace and integrate this profound concept more deeply into your life. Tune in for an enlightening journey that may just change your perspective on grace forever.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to Grace Among Us, the podcast where we unearth the many faces and places of grace and share stories of the power of grace in our human lives. Our desire is that this will inspire you to see grace in your own life and share it with others.

Carri Richard:

Hello, hello, my name is Carri Richard. I'm a mindset coach and by day I help people make space and enjoy the ride. And sometimes by day I also get to talk with my dear friend Ebony Gilbert about my favorite topic grace.

Ebony Gilbert:

Hey Carri. Well everybody, I'm Ebony Gilbert and we are here to talk about grace once again. Believe it or not, we've been doing this for 20-something times and that feels good. Feel good to you? (Carri- it does, it does). It feels really good. Who would have thunk it? So here we are, and today I had an idea about grace that goes against what I've previously thought, maybe not against what I've known, but my real life, day-to-day thoughts. So I'll throw it out here. It's not necessarily a question, it's more of a thought, and we can go up from there, if that's okay.

Carri Richard:

Yeah.

Ebony Gilbert:

I've been dealing with some things that feel pretty challenging to me and I often times pray for grace and mercy and understanding and at the end of that long line of requests is essentially me saying to God protect me and punish them, which the other day I heard something on the radio and it kind of convicted me to stop light, like is that really the way God works? What if the person we're considering our enemy is also in the God camp and that person is praying for their own protection against me, because the enemy goes both ways right? And understanding that God is big enough to not shortchange my blessing because he's blessing somebody else? Why do I get the mindset of "grace doesn't apply to my enemies, or that my enemies are truly outside of God's realm of help or control, they don't deserve His blessing, and what gives me that right to think that anyway? So I've been a little perplexed about this concept for me, of grace for my enemies, and does that even align with what I should be praying for and how do I reconcile it? Because the truth of the matter is I don't want the person I'm considering person, thing, system that I'm considering my enemy. I don't want it to fall. I'm not looking for bad things to happen to it, I just want the bad things to stop happening to me. So I get a little. I get a little fuzzy there. So I figure what better place than this to talk about it and bring it to my good friend Carri, because we do not shy away from tough issues. And this feels tough to me. This feels really tough to me. I can tell you all the things I'm supposed to say. I can tell you all the things that I've been taught and I've learned in Sunday school. But when it boils down to, you feel like you're being wronged and it's a matter of black and white. I'm not sure I know how to pray in this situation that shows grace to the person or system or thing that's imposing that wrongdoing. And I" stopped there.

Carri Richard:

That is, that is, that is juicy. I appreciate that. Grace for our enemies. So I heard you say, praying for protection and then "dot, dot, dot and punishment for the other side, right? So, yeah, exactly, cause I'm paying right now. I don't like it. So how about we turn the tide? And you know, they pay. Yeah, it's hard not to do that. You know, it's like our culture. I'm going to generalize, but our culture is somebody wins and somebody loses, (Ebony - but he loses), and in God's . kingdom .(Ebony We We cannot win) win Exactly Everybody can win. Because, the God of my understanding is way more creative than I could ever . be And and it's really difficult when I'm hurting to have any kind of love, tolerance, encouragement for the person, situation thing that feels like is causing the hurt. And left my own devices, without grace, I'm going to retaliate, I'm going to find some punishment and "I'll get you. And I'm on that ladder. I'm back on the ladder, somebody's up, somebody's down, and I want to level the playing field.

Ebony Gilbert:

And I'm assuming this position of superiority with Christ because I deserve fair and equal treatment and this person deserves the wrath of not giving me that fair and equal treatment. As if my fair and equal treatment is determined by this individual or this system. I think that, what I'm thinking, I'm so glad we're talking about it. The resentment starts to surface once I convince myself that this thing or person is responsible for my mistreatment. (Carri - Yeah) I'm giving them the power, so they should be punished. Instead of viewing it as, "this is all working for my good anyway. And truly, if you are the enemy, He's going to make you my footstool. And truly, if you aren't the enemy, we all can still win and I can be an example and model of what grace should look like in this situation. See, I have the answers, but when I'm in my feelings, I've heard myself pray and it concerns me, sometimes Like I'm so glad that God knows my heart, because what comes out of my mouth, sometimes it fails. It fails to express where I'm really coming from. I'm trying to convey a sense of hurt and wrongdoing and help me and what comes out is, "get them, get them, get them. Mess with their finances. Mess with their finances. That's not the intent. The intent is "stop the hurt.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, yeah . And In doing that, in deciding where the hurt is coming from, I'm essentially telling God what to do or trying to. "I'm hurting and I know how you can fix it, so let me tell you how you can fix it. "It's about this and it's about this and it's about this". It's not about me, right? I have some dear friends that use this really quick prayer and I can tell how open I am to grace by how I feel about this prayer. And it is - four words. Bless them, change me. (Ebony - Oh no, I don't know how I feel about that.) Exactly. See, it's like a thermometer. It's really great. If you don't feel good about that, it's possible that God doesn't have free reign in the situation for you.

Ebony Gilbert:

Bless them, Change me. (Carri - Mm-hmm). I can wrap my head around that, it'll still take some practice. Yeah, yeah, I was watching, this all connects and some kind of a golden. I was watching this documentary, um, about NASA and they were highlighting this new telescope, that's in space right now. You know, years away that we're still getting images from and I can't get a phone signal. You know, ten miles from my house, but you know we're getting these images of galaxies and and things in the universe that we have never seen before, we never knew existed, and and it's fascinating to see these images. Oh, my god, it is. It is absolutely incredible and Though, and it's pitch black, so the way they overlay color with heat and temperature to generate these images. Like the eye of the computer can't even perceive what the telescope is sending. It has to be created, see, to visualize it. Then we see it and we don't even know what we're seeing because nothing we've seen before. And I started thinking about outside of just the sheer magnitude, of how incredible it is, and maybe I'm just a geek and dorking out here, but mind-blowing, almost like, bring tears to your eyes because it's so big. But what I'm thinking about it, I'm thinking there's a God who made this and the vastness of his thought and the things we think we see. It's like looking at a wall on a gallery right and you see the picture, the picture, the picture, the picture. You think you're looking at pictures, and Every all the detail of life is in between the pictures and your eye can't see it because it doesn't even have the software to compute and download what's there in front of us. Yeah you know it's like putting a certain thing in front of a child, saying, pick up the cup. If the child doesn't know what the cup is, he won't pickup the cup, because it hasn't downloaded to their mind what a cup is. There are so many things in life that have not been downloaded into my perceptive Visualization or understanding. Does that make sense?

Carri Richard:

Oh my gosh, it makes so much sense. I t makes absolute sense. It's almost like it at the same time. Another idea is like if I take this, I have this photo of my mom right On my desk. So if I take this photo and I shove it up against my face, (Ebony you don't know what it is), I don't know, I can't discern what it is, I don't see. I see a couple colors and my eyes go., they get all crazy. And it's only when I can step back from it when I'm hurting. Whatever's hurting, whatever I perceive that's hurting me, is shoved up against my face and I' m pretty blind to it and I'm pretty prickly and so (Ebony - if you walk in a room for a surprise party, you have on a blindfold.)

Ebony Gilbert:

You're still in the room with the party, right? You just can't see it. Mm-hmm, and that resentment I have, that prayer for punishment for people that I don't even freaking know that well. That's a blindfold, and it's keeping me from seeing the work of God, the brilliance of God, the magnitude of God, the omniscience and omnipresence, and is keeping me from the grace Because I'm allowing this picture to be so close to me, mm-hmm, and even if it wasn't focused, there is still so much that I will never see or understand.

Carri Richard:

You've nailed it and it's Not only is your own view, it's almost like you're being taken hostage by it. (Ebony - There's no freedom in it). No, there isn't, and there's. I'm going to give you an example, because it keeps coming up and you tell me if this is along the lines of what we're talking about? So my son is 17. His father died last year, unfortunately, and we have not been. We were only together until my son, our son, was about nine months old. So it's been a while. Right, it was, - neither one of us were healthy. I own that. Neither one of us were healthy. And the separation, the process. There was contention. We were both like I'll speak, I can all speak for myself because I'm only myself. I had a picture pasted to my face for a long time. It also was a catalyst to get closer to God, which I'm very grateful for and extremely hurt. The hurt continued because one threw it, the other threw it. Right? I was asked, I was actually asked to pray for him. I was like, "what this was, you know, are you kidding me? Like, do you have any idea?!" All these things? And I did it. I got on my knees with clenched teeth and was like, "God bless this and insert some not very nice words. That's how it began, and I was asked to do it for 30 days and it began to shift. Even with my unwilling, my mustard seed of willingness, it began to shift. Now I'd like to say it was all unicorns and rainbows. There's really good ending to the story that we all got together and everybody was kumbaya. It was not, it was not, it was um, it was so far from the story that I want to tell of how it ended up. And in this process, - somebody said to me "your son is half you and half his father, and so remember that when you want to speak ill of his father" and I, by God's grace, (I thank him all the time). I heard that statement, in my chaos, in my pissed off-ed-ness, in my hurt. And so I did not dump the situation, the stuff on this child, and that is one of the greatest gifts I've received to this day. So he did not, uh, he did not see his son since he was four. It's been a long time, but they did talk on the phone. So he died. And, because of God's grace, I could've called him my mortal enemy, I could launch, I could give you a whole stack of evidence of why he was an enemy, and none of that mattered. We celebrated his life and it was the grace that allowed that to happen and to celebrate this person for who he was and all he was, with other people who were celebrating him. And you talked about those blinders, and it's, it's a gift, because I had a lot of love for this person. I had known him since I was very young and to be able to return to that love and to let the rest of the stuff go, that is only by grace. So I don't know if that's directly connected, but it just kept happening and it actually. It actually began by being told this is what you're going to do ..

Ebony Gilbert:

Pray for your enemies. Yeah, which is biblical right? You know that we're told to pray for enemies. I don't think I had an issue with praying . It was the way I was praying.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, I mean, It's been suggested pray for the person that they receive everything you want in life. It's a reflection on that limiting idea that I have that if I get, you're not going to, or if they get, I'm not going to.

Ebony Gilbert:

It keeps me from.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely.

Ebony Gilbert:

And we all can win.

Carri Richard:

All the time.

Ebony Gilbert:

All the time, or it can be an important planet. There might be 50 of us.

Carri Richard:

There might be 500,000 others. I've seen some. I have been. There might be.

Ebony Gilbert:

gazillion more, you know. Yeah, yeah, that's helpful. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for two things that resonated with me. Number one, it wasn't all unicorns and rainbows. And number two, there was sufficient evidence to side with you. If this had been a court of law, you would have won, because I need that validation.

Carri Richard:

I actually I did. Yeah, that's what the court said.

Ebony Gilbert:

I did not know that - there you go. Like I need someone to say "no, you're right, they're wrong", with that? So what?

Carri Richard:

Exactly, there's two questions, two questions. That is the powerful question, so what? And the other question is, at what cost? What cost? At what cost do I need to be validated or need to be right?

Ebony Gilbert:

Is this worth the price of my validation? Like I don't know that it is. And do I want that type of "report to? So karma? Like you know, it comes full-circle. So I appreciate just the openness of the discussion. I mean, obviously there's a little vulnerability, a lot of vulnerability on the table with both of us here, but. It's uncomfortable when you have the mounting evidence to say no, this isn't right and you don't see the form of justice that you want to see.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely. And when I don't invite grace in, not only do I retaliate, but sometimes I try to get a camp to come around me. (Ebony - Yeah, I want supporters), and then it becomes a war.

Ebony Gilbert:

Because I've got to build my army against you. Yeah, and it's the enemy, you know, and it's challenging me. This is present day, I'm not talking about past tense. It's present day challenging me to dig deeper and to really view people through God's eyes as much as I can, based on what I can see, which is very limited. It's forcing me to look in between pictures.

Carri Richard:

Yeah.

Ebony Gilbert:

It's forcing me to really, really rebuke myself, to check my own thoughts and to really help my unbelief, because, essentially what I'm saying, I know I should do this, I'm going to do this. I'm saying, "I don't believe that the right way is going to work. Yeah, so help my unbelief, my doubts, my dubious nature, for all things to be not what they're supposed to be, you know. So it's a multi folded prayer. Bless them, change me, help my unbelief, give me grace so I can be a better person. Give me the lens and the glasse s to see in between the lines and between the pictures. Humble me, which means I'm going to have some hurt because the good shit doesn't humble me. Let's be real, that's not the stuff that gets me to the ground Okay.

Carri Richard:

So when you get the playbook on how to get humble without pain, I mean billionaire status, yeah.

Ebony Gilbert:

It didn't work that way for me Carri.

Carri Richard:

I know, keep searching for it, but yeah, up until now I hadn't found it.

Ebony Gilbert:

No, so you know, I'm praying feverishly, without ceasing for these things to fall into play. I forgot to deal with my, my flesh, because you know and I'm going to say this now I mean it will just kind of parallel with the example when you were told hey, you know there's your enemy, was your son's father. This person said you know, he's half of them and you. There's some things in me that are reflective of the enemies behavior and I'd be silly to think that's not the case. I've been in an environment in this world where there are more inputs than just good, so there's going to be some stuff that comes out sometimes that's not all good. So I want to, I want to see it, I want to know it. It's like an address it, and these situations that are challenging oftentimes bring this stuff to the surface. So now I'm mad at the enemy and I'm mad at me.

Carri Richard:

Yeah, yeah, it's. It's that curiosity of, "what are you showing me.

Ebony Gilbert:

What am I showing me and what am I showing the world throughout the situation? Well, I'd be proud of this behavior that I'm displaying as a reaction or a response Like, if I had to look back at this script, this movie script, 10 years from now. Am I going to feel good about the way I showed up to the set today? I don't know.

Carri Richard:

I love, I love, I love how you talked about the reaction versus the response. Like, when I think of reaction, it's like like, like I'm being stung, and so if I'm being stung by something, I am going to have a reaction. And that response is that pause, like to take a pause and invite God in. And somebody talked about, like it's personal risk. I think we're also today. We're talking about personal responsibility. It's like owning owning our behavior, our thoughts, our attitudes, our, you know, how far we are from the canvas, or or are we looking at the space in between? And if you break down responsibility, it's 'response - ability', like do you have the ability to respond? That's good.

Ebony Gilbert:

Yeah. I like that I like, that. This is good, this is good. So, father, give us grace, yes, give us grace for enemies. Give us grace for our own enemy.

Carri Richard:

Yeah.

Ebony Gilbert:

Show us mercy, because that thing that can be defined as my external enemy, my perception of and I'm getting them all the way now my own enemy.

Carri Richard:

So thank you Always. Thank you so much.

Ebony Gilbert:

I think we did it. I think we did it. I feel like there's more, but we're a better spot at the end of this than where it started with the confusing questions. I'm pretty sure you can tell.

Carri Richard:

Absolutely so for everybody out there, if you have a thought, an idea about grace for your enemies, a prayer that you use, anything we would love to hear.

Ebony Gilbert:

So anything else?

Carri Richard:

Yes, until then Very soon.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, please let us know. We'd love to hear from you and share it with a friend. Also, please be sure to subscribe so you're notified when a new episode is posted. We hope you're leaving with another pointer to grace, a new perspective that will light it up in your own life. Until next time, be well, be bold, be kind to yourself and be on the lookout.

Grace for Enemies
Protect me. Punish them.
This Big
Grace and Perspective in Difficult Relationships
At what Cost?
Personal responsibility (Response - Ability)
Finding Grace and a New Perspective