Back in the 1700’s, a pale-skinned, English sailer wrote a poem that ended up becoming one of the most well known songs of the English-speaking world. His story is not much different than yours and mine (relevant to the time) but the revelation he shared is powerful beyond measure.
John was headstrong, disobedient, vulgar and cruel. He was forced into the Royal Navy with hopes that some structure and discipline would do him some good. He went awol and joined a ship with a captain who didn’t much appreciate his profane nature. So during a stop in West Africa, John was purposefully left with a local slave owner who then made him a servant of the slaves. After being rescued 3 years later, John finally found his sea legs as a captain of slave ships. While taking inventory of his life some 30 years after he retired, he penned a poem that speaks of an unimaginable love, an amazing grace if you will, that freed him from the pain that comes when looking at ourselves in the mirror.
Grace, in it’s purest form, is love that seeks you out regardless of your worthiness (thank you LFC). This love can come from above, from you to me, me to you, AND from me to me. That’s right, you can (and should) give yourself some grace if you are a perfectionist, high achiever, hard worker, big hearted leader of anything. You see, these types of people tend to be their hardest critic and don’t typically let themselves off the hook so to speak.
God knows we could all use a little more love and less hate for each other AND ourselves. When is the last time you gave this love to another who didn’t deserve it? When is the last time you truly received such love when you haven’t earned it? Thank you Captain John Newton for describing the amazing gift of giving AND receiving grace. Thank you to those who set this poem, from a white slave ship captain, to a West African sorrow chant and made them ONE… oh how sweet the sound.