One of the people who have heavily shaped and influenced my life and Christian walk passed away yesterday. Brennan Manning showed me that the God of the universe was more than some distant authoritarian being, but a Father who wanted me to call Him Abba which distinguishes me as His child, a part of His family.
Now you got to understand I never met Brennan Manning. I never heard him speak at a conference or sat in a lecture by him, and I never attempted to meet him. His influence on me was through his writing. I first started reading his books while I was in Bible college. One of my professors made a couple of Brennan’s books required reading, and once I cracked open the pages of his books, it was no longer required reading for me… Brennan Manning also taught me to depend on God’s grace day by day and moment by moment. He purposed me to live a life defined by having an awareness that I am deeply loved by Jesus. My true identity is found in Jesus and that it was a gift, not anything I deserved or could buy, but it was offered to me for free – The Father’s grace…
Brennan Manning’s influence profoundly molded my view the reconciliation of my old life to the new life I have in Jesus. Even to this day when I struggle with the demons of my past, I reflect on not only the words of Jesus, but also on thoughts written by Manning, such as…
“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” – Brennan Manning, Ragamuffin Gospel
“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.” – Brennan Manning
Becoming aware of my need for redemption from the dark shadows of my life, one that is given not earned, reminds me that it is through this painful life that we find love and acceptance from Abba, Father. In turn, Manning spoke of this grace being something that is not selfishly kept, but desperately shared. In his book The Wisdom of Tenderness, Manning speaks of the true measure of our love for God is seen in our love for our neighbor. Our understanding of God’s love for us is when we seek to have our heart broken and concerned for the things that God cares about. Grace is something to be shared not something to keep. Manning wrote that The Father’s grace is for the hurting and not for the well. Manning states in his book Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging, “Our hearts of stone become hearts of flesh when we learn where the outcast weeps.” May we all have a heart like The Father’s and take life moment by moment like Brennan Manning.
Thank you Brennan Manning you have shaped my life through your writing! You have shown me I am loved by my Abba, Father and the need to live gracefully.