The other night I was watching American Idol and heard Kelly Clarkson sing, “Piece by Piece.” It was a powerful, emotional moment bringing listeners to tears.
In the song, Clarkson tells the story of how the unconditional love of her husband, Brandon, for their daughter, River, restored her faith in love and family after she had been abandoned by her own father at six years old. In the chorus she sings,
He never walks away
He never asks for money
He takes care of me
He loves me
Piece by piece
He restored my faith
That a man can be kind
And a father could stay
Clarkson juxtaposes the selfless choices of her husband with those of her father. The lyrics reminded me of the consequences choices have. When the desire for self-gratification overwhelms your sense of responsibility, you can justify selfish choices with words like, “I’m not that important. My choices don’t matter that much. People are resilient; they’ll be fine,” all self delusions. No matter how insignificant you think you are, your choices have consequences that can span generations.
In the church we magnify the grace of God and His willingness to forgive, no matter what evil you’ve done. It is true; God will forgive you of any sin though faith in the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ! Yet God’s grace does not entitle you to gloss over the devastating impact your selfish choices have had on the lives of others. To appreciate the enormity of God’s grace, you have to acknowledge the damage you’ve done.
Owning the consequences of your harmful choices does not always restore broken relationships immediately. However, it is the first step in your own healing. It may take years of unconditional love to rebuild trust after you’ve betrayed someone. And, honestly, the relationship may never be the same. You have to be OK with this; it’s what “unconditional” love means.
As Christ followers, we strive to be the ones who restore others’ faith. Each day His Spirit is transforming us from indifference to caring, from greed to generosity, from cruelty to kindness, from pride to humility, and from despair to confidence. Today, make a selfless choice; tomorrow, make another. It is God at work within you transforming you into the character of Christ.
…continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort—for the sake of his good pleasure—is God (Philippians 2:12b-13, NET).