Fragrance of a Rose

fragrance-of-roseSee to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. (Hebrews 12:15)

Grace is critical for our relationship with God, others, and even ourselves.  While we receive His grace in faith (Eph 2:8-9; Romans 3), it’s a continual journey towards indiscriminate grace.  Brennan Manning best describes this flow of grace – “As we come to grips with our own selfishness and stupidity, we make friends with the impostor and accept that we are impoverished and broken and realize that, if we were not, we would be God. The art of gentleness toward ourselves leads to being gentle with others and is a natural prerequisite for our presence to God in prayer”.

Grace IS the Good News.  In Scripture, it is the separation of the sheep and goats, to love and care for the inflicted, to reconcile with your fellow brother, to turn the other cheek, to forgive 7×70 times, the Fruit of the Spirit, etc.  Grace is our faith on display in all aspects of our life.

“Is it possible for the rose to say, ‘I’ll offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people?’ Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? It could do that only by ceasing to be a lamp. And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and every living creature — even to the one who seeks to cut it down” (Anthony DeMello).  In order to obtain this beautiful, indiscriminate grace, we must be in continual and humble prayer and silence before the Lord.

Dr. Beth Ackerman is the Associate Dean, School of Education, at Liberty University. Learn more about Liberty University here.

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  1. @Lisa. Hang in there Lisa,your in a new phase of your life. Stay in prayer as I will keep you in mine. God bless

  2. 1 year ago
    Cissy Boyle says

    A friend of mine called this philosophy, sloppy agape….it’s such a load of crap….

    Just to be clear….we are not trees or flowers…God expects us to use the discernment of the Holy Spirit to weigh our relationships. Although in ministry we may be called to walk along side broken, and destructive people, in our intimate relationships we are fools to do so. Look at what Proverbs says very clearly about keeping fools in your life. Obviously, we are called to forgive one another, but forgiveness means giving your right to retribution to God, it does not mean restoration of a relationship. That’s completely separate, some people are too dangerous or destructive to allow for a healthy close relationship. I notice some of the commenters seen to equate forgiveness and restoration. You’re wrong to do so, if you are destructive, and cause pain to the people around you, then you need to change before trying to restore that relationship….and no, Lisa, we don’t need to learn to accept who we are…..we need to die to ourselves and become more and more like Him.

    • Cissy,
      I agree. And I have written on this topic before for WOF on Fleeing from Foolishness – It’s a very difficult balance to obtain. But even of those who we should flee from (Proverbs 24:21), we should turn away in love and grace and welcome a return with loving arms (Luke 15 is a great visual for this). I ended the above blog that we need to be in silence in humility before the Lord. I did this because I believe the Holy Spirit will speak this balance to the individuals, and not my blog. :) But thanks for the reminder here! And it is something I will consider trying to further hash out in another blog. It’s hard to handle it all in 300 words. :) Beth

  3. 1 year ago
    Ruth Scott says

    When I read the ‘Fragrance of a Rose’ I thought how sometimes we (I) look the part but don’t always ‘smell’ the part, just like some of the really beautiful roses we see. By that, I mean sometimes we want others to see us as Christians but we don’t always show the love of God and the grace He expects us to show and share.

  4. Thank you all for your additional thoughts, particularly those of you who shared your heart and struggles. Brennan Manning (the first quote) passed away this month. He has some wonderful books on finding Grace for ourselves and others, my favorite being Ragamuffin Gospel. His work has impacted my life so much so, that I believe this is my favorite post I’ve done yet. Life is a continual journey and we all just need to allow His grace in our walk with ourselves and others.

  5. This article is so simple and beautiful.

    I’m going through a seperation with my husband of 34 years. Not only am I having difficulty forgiving myself, my relationship with my daughter is suffering as a result of ME being the one who left. I have been clinging to God’s Grace for forgiveness and praying that HE can soften her heart. This article will be kept for furture inspiration and hope.

    Thank you Dr. Ackerman.

    • 1 year ago
      Lisa says

      Hi, first time writing a message through this service. After hearing about Women Of Faith on GMC this Sunday morning, I felt drawn to the site. After reading your words, I realized that there are so many women in the world who are carrying such a heavy load in their hearts, and have an enormous amount of guilt because they were unable to save the world. But when it comes down to the nitty gritty of our own families the one thing I have realized is marriage is about togetherness, good and bad, thick and thin. I have 2 daughters and 2 sons, my 2 daughters have lost respect for my husband because they have witness the yelling, name calling, criticism, and laziness. I left my husband after 26 years of trying to be the right women for him, giving 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chances and denying myself happiness (gentleness, caring, loving) because deep down I was not in love with my husband, although I tried to make it work for my husband and the sake of the children. Those words; (for the sake of the children), it is very unhealthy to say this, and to live this way, because I feel I have cheated myself and my husband from true happiness and true love, living this way is wrong, who am I to play with my husbands heart and feelings even my own, because eventually it gets broken, our hearts, lives and souls belong to God, and I am dealing with so much guilt because I denied both of us happiness. Trying to make a marriage work has to be for the right reasons, my life now I plan to dedicate to the Lord, and to my children, one day I hope my husband can forgive me and talk to me as a friend, and even find Jesus through all of this. My younger son has stayed with his father, he says because he does not want his dad to be alone, it has been almost 2 months since I left, and although my husband keeps a very close watchful eye on my son, he has chosen not to visit me. Lives are so very delicate and intricate, I can truthfully say I have set my husband free, and my family free to grow spiritually, my girls feel their mother has stepped out of a life of hostility to living free within God, it has given me a sense of accomplishment to set the example to my daughters that firstly they must trust in God for everything, and that God loves us, living your life must have meaning and truth, without loving yourself you are in deep trouble. I pray that you find peace in the good Lord who loves you unconditionally, and remember you must first love yourself before you can show love to others. Learn to accept who you are, Jesus did.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this article. May The Lord continue to bless you!

  7. 1 year ago
    Larryn M. Griffith says

    Hi Denise! I hear your pain through your words. My son and I experienced many difficult days as he was growing up. He would bring up painful memories, and we just never seemed to heal. As mothers (and fathers), we have to forgive ourselves. We try very hard to be good parents, but we are human and capable of mistakes. God’s grace allows us that forgiveness. Then, we have to “love our child through” wherever they are. No matter the anger, the unforgiveness, “I will love you through it” must be our attitude. Family is the most important element..unconditional love as demonstrated by God. We may not always be happy about behaviors or situations or agree with them, but the love must always be there. I found with my son that admitting my own mistakes and apologizing meant a lot to him and allowed him the room to apologize as well. The talking came next and eventually peace and forgiveness. I don’t know how old your daughter is, but don’t give up on her, and don’t allow yourself to be tortured. Take all your pain to the Lord and wait for His help. He will never leave you or forsake you. He will answer your prayers and heal you and your daughter. May God bless you both during this trial and bring you peace.

  8. Thank you for pointing these items out. Many of us forget about how we are to treat EVERYONE the same with goodness – regardless of good or bad. It isn’t our job to judge anyone,. Although it is tough, it is our responsibility to trust God on how we should act. This will help me today to be more “Christ like” and treat everyone regardless of my thoughts about them good. Thanks again! :)

  9. 1 year ago
    Denise olatayo says

    Amen! Me and my daughter are going through something she can forgive me so she does everything
    To hard by bringing up the pass and are life is good now don’t know why she does
    This. Forgive me yes I do I know it’s her it’s enemy please pray for our relationship Thank You.