“There is no difference, there is not one righteous…” I read from Romans last Saturday night, as I sat in the quiet living room at quarter of 11, waiting for my apple crisp for fellowship meal to bake. I stopped reading and considered that phrase—there is no difference…
Fresh in my mind is my husband laughing at me, saying he would never understand girls, as I yet once more stressed out about some minute detail of my appearance, convinced that I was not as put together as every other woman I have met… I remember my best friend telling me exasperatedly that I compare myself to other people too much. I think about the stress I place upon myself daily, as I watch the skillful ones, the confident ones, the godly ones around me and measure how short I fall. On a good day I might admire the Instagram-worthy aspects of other people’s houses a little sadly. On a bad day I won’t talk to someone who has the Christian qualities I admire, for fear of appearing deficient. I am not perfect, you see, and sometimes I say things I shouldn’t, and fail to speak up when I should, and inconvenience others with my lack of organization and efficiency. But I don’t want anyone else to know.
Apparently, though, I need not have worried, because there is no difference between us, the ones who appear to have their lives in order, and the ones like me who sometimes feel like they can’t get it together. There is no difference between the followers of the law who offend in one point and the followers of the law who offend in ten, because we all break the law and fall so far short that God doesn’t see any difference between us—it is grace that saves us all and makes us beautiful daughters of God!
I felt silly, then, as I considered how I raise up other people as the perfect role models and try to live in a way that would be pleasing to them. It is silly to try to make my house look like something from Daughters of Promise, when I’m quite sure that those perfect-looking people in the perfect-looking pictures, taken in perfect-looking houses, only represent a small part of the truth… And behind closed doors, somewhere in that same house, there is probably a room with old-fashioned speckled kitchen counters or a pink-tiled bathroom. And somewhere inside those perfect-looking people is the same human nature that I wrestle with.
Because there is no difference between us… We are all of us, Instagram-worthy or no, living in the same world, and it is only the free gift of grace that redeems—not works, houses, or personal appearance—lest any woman should boast.
Today I welcome that same free gift of grace into my house, into my daily life, and into my soul. Instagram is not worthy of the beauty of God’s redeeming love. This grace is free and undeserved, and we cannot compare the generous out-pouring of that gift in each of our lives. It redeems our imperfections like the warm sun in February, like a long hug at the end of a difficult day, and like the plants from my mom growing in my cozy, pink-tiled bathroom… And instead of the sneaking sins of jealousy and fear, my heart becomes filled to over-flowing with gratitude to the One Who saw how far short our stabs at beauty fell and willingly sacrificed Himself to make us lovely in God’s eyes, to allow us to be daughters of the King.