Do you know the story of Elisabeth Elliot? While she is particularly well-known for her views on dating and marriage, she first came to the public attention because of her husband, Jim. Along with four other men, Jim Elliot was a missionary to the remote Waodani tribe in Ecuador. Despite their friendly overtures, Jim and the others were murdered by Waodani warriors.
What happened next is incredible. Elisabeth decided to also go to the Waodani. She lived among them and evangelized to them; her actions demonstrated a love that eventually helped end the tribe’s violent ways.
This is grace – and this most unexplainable and unnatural action has the power to transform.
In Kokoro Connect, Inaba has spent the entire series hiding. The whole group, of course, knows that she’s bossy, but Inaba hides her “true self” – a selfish, untrusting, and insecure person.
All series long, Inaba has been literally running away. She’s afraid that her emotions, mixed with her shortcomings, will tear their group apart. And she needs the group, because while everyone else could move on and make other friends, Inaba isn’t sure she can. After all, as Inaba reveals, she didn’t have any friends before Iori and the others came along.
But as she runs through the forest, Inaba finds that she can no longer hide the fact that she’s in love with Taichi. Like a Christian realizing that her hidden sins are really laid bare before an all-knowing God, Inaba’s true self is now on display.
I am full of earth
You are heaven’s worth
I am stained with dirt, prone to depravity
You are everything that is bright and clean
The antonym of me
You are divinity
But a funny thing happens. Iori, who would bare more hurt than any of the others, tells Inaba that she loves her anyway. She knows the real Inaba and she loves her. She will always love her.
And in that instant, Inaba is transformed. Iori now knows everything; Inaba can’t deny it – she’s fully and wholly accepted for who she is.
Those of us who have experienced God’s grace know Inaba’s reaction intimately. For me, it might as well be a flashback of an experience I had in college – which, by the way, also happened in the woods. When I came to realize the depth of my folly and just how much God loved me – the lengths he went to in order to show that he loves me, just as I am, I broke down. My burden was gone.
But a certain sign of grace is this
From a broken earth flowers come up
Pushing through the dirt
But that was just the beginning. Having experienced such great love, my response was to naturally love in return. And when I returned from my retreat, I was different – I had changed. I no longer tried to abide by rules, as if to gain God’s favor. My love for him and my desire to do His work was now a response to One who loved me no matter what I did – good or bad.
Inaba, having experienced acceptance and grace, is changed as well. She’s a little bit nicer, a little bit more open, and a little bit more courageous.
And she’s a wholly a new person.
So here I am, all of me
I am wholly Yours
– David Crowder Band, “Wholly Yours”