by Candace Arthuria Williams
Today, I freed myself from the burdensome task of attempting to earn God’s grace. For the first time in my life, I understand that it is not possible. Until now, I have enumerated things I have done right. I’ve been a good wife, saved for retirement, never cheated anybody, and made it my practice not to lie. I have looked to the left and looked to the right, noting the bad things others have done, believing in my heart that I would be blessed for never having done them. I tallied a list of shalts and shalt nots, and took pride in having been a much better Christian than some.
The problem with that particular rationale is failing to take into account that every balance sheet has two sides. There are assets and there are liabilities. Yet my accounting was all in one column. I began to imagine God’s assessment of my deeds. “That’s a pretty good reckoning,” He might say. “Now I have a list of my own.” I choose not to itemize the sins that might appear in His ledger. They are not your business, any more than someone else’s sins are mine.
I finally understand that God does not need me to remind Him of what others have done. He knows. And He’s likely not pleased with my counting the costs for other imperfect human beings. Should He choose to reward me for the things I’ve done right, is there no retribution for the wrong? When viewing my life through that disturbing prism, I dare not hope for the consequence of that which I have sown. As of this day, I will turn a blind eye to whatever might appear in my periphery. I no longer care what you did. The question I will ask is: What was I doing at the time?
Beware of playing quid pro quo with God. You’ll never win. Refrain from elucidating things of the past. His memory is better than yours. There is nothing we can do to earn His grace. It is the gift that only He can give. Do not put a price tag on that which is free. And be careful about keeping score.
Candace Arthuria Williams began her career in Corporate Communications and currently writes short fiction, essays, and poetry. Her work is multi-cultural, inter-generational, and expands across a broad range of genres. During the pandemic, Candace completed a diverse collection entitled “Very Short Stories for Very Busy People.” Her objective is to capture readers’ imaginations without consuming too much of their time. She has published with the International Women’s Writing Guild, the Teaneck Public Library Archives, and Friday Flash Fiction.