Looking back and forward with eyes of grace.

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It’s that time of the year when we arbitrarily flip the calendar to a new year. This time we are also entering a new decade with what I hope is twenty-twenty vision – pun intended. As I look back on a decade fraught with emotionally eviscerating pain, I want to remind myself that there were also moments of pure unadulterated joy, childlike excitement, unconditional love, personal growth, milestones, and an abundance of grace that led to a re-imagining and renewal of my faith.

My prayer for myself, and all people is that in the coming year, we are all able to see people as Jesus sees them – with eyes of love and compassion. When I pass people on the street I pray that my first thought is -“there is another human being beloved by God, just like me” rather than judging them for any reason. I pray to see their humanity and their belovedness by God.

Likewise, my prayer for myself is that I can see ME with the eyes of Jesus. Millstones that I’ve been carrying since my traumatic childhood have made loving myself in a healthy way well nigh impossible. Jesus had harsh words for those who harm children (like the U.S. government is now doing by putting children in concentration camps on the U.S. – Mexico border). Perhaps he knew the dangers traumatizing children poses to the rest of their lives. Generational trauma is very real.

Grace has given me eyes to see some of the ways I’ve been hampered by those millstones that abuse, neglect, and how those traumatic experiences had impacted my brain as a kid (PTSD causes actual physiological changes to the brain); my subsequent life in general; and many relationships with people that were damaged as a result. Now, as I see with more clarity, I pray to fully love and accept myself the way God loves and accepts me – unconditionally and with abundant grace.

If your lived experience is similar – be it from a childhood rife with abusive behavior, or due to systemic oppression, warfare, tragedy, or any other cause of human suffering, then I pray that you will also be able to see yourself with Christlike eyes of love, compassion, and grace. I believe that when we love ourselves in a healthy way, that we are able to enact the greatest commandment as Jesus taught in Luke 10:25-37 because as the lawyer rightly observed we are to love ourselves as well as God, and all our neighbors.

Screenshot_2019-12-31 Bible Gateway passage Luke 10 27 - New Revised Standard Version

As we enter 2020 may love of neighbor as well as love of self be the resolution that we mindfully enact.

Peace be with you.

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Writing is my vocational calling. If you enjoyed this blog post please consider supporting my work with a small donation. Thank you, Dillon Naber Cruz

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