I went running. That much is true. And to be honest, I run with anticipation, of what God will say. He speaks to me along the streets of my neighborhood, in the glint of sunshine on the lake, the smell of fall in the air. So when I turned the corner to ascend the hill, I started the little game I’d been playing each time I did so. I condemned. Maligned. Hollered at myself.
There’s a house on my route that serves as a reminder of a failure of mine. And every time I jog by that house, the words assault me. “You should’ve remembered. You should’ve extended more grace.”
So I started my mantra to the cadence of my slow-paced run.
Then the Lord said this: Pass by on the other side.
Yes. You’ve beaten yourself up far too much. Pass by on the other side.
So I did. I purposefully ignored the painful house reminder, steadying my gaze on the other side of the road. I noticed houses I’d never noticed before. New landscaping. A new vista. The sun shone differently on this side of the street. And once I passed the house, I felt free.
It really is true that you have a choice. You can run on the side of the road where the condemnation blossoms. Or you can choose to run to the other side and notice new signs of life. You can beat yourself up, or choose to offer grace. Yes, grace–even to yourself.
How about you? What houses do you run by? How do you berate yourself? What do you gain by saying such mean things about yourself? What would you do if a friend said those same things to you, over and over again? Would you keep that friend? No, probably not.
So be a good friend to yourself. Pass by on the other side. Receive the grace on the other side, the grace that comes from a Savior who died for every. single. one. of your sins. Trust Him to make things beautiful from your ashes and regrets.
Pass by on the other side.