Sitting here at my desk looking out my window at the beauty that exists in my backyard, I wrestle with the scandal of grace. It has been the thing that has consumed me for the last several years. What is it, how do I comprehend it, explain it, walk in it, extend it, live with it, or even be at peace with it?
Grace is offensive! It offends because it is upsetting to our sense of justice and fairness. It is unmerited favor, something that is not earned or based on what we have done, who we are, how much we can pay; in fact there is nothing that we can do to earn it or deserve it. It is a gift, plain and simple, given freely. It makes no demands, it defies logic, it has no rules or requirements.
Grace is not cheap, it’s free, unchained and radically unrestricted.
It gives when you have nothing to give in return. It boggles the mind, it wrecks the soul, and it is shameless in its pursuit of those who are not worthy. I can’t wrap my head around it but my heart longs for it to be real. It’s uncomfortable, it’s reckless, it does whatever it wants and it beckons me to simply accept it as the no strings attached gift that Christ gave HIS life for.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slaveryGal 5:1
Why is it so hard to just be free? Free to love and free to live without a yoke of slavery. What is it about my nature that just wants a way to earn it or pay for it so that it is not so hard to accept that it belongs to me? It’s uncomfortable to accept something that I don’t deserve, it feels like I have cheated and because I am undeserving I want to pay it back or forward or whatever.
This grace; it has troubled my soul for a while now. I have read books on it, listened to music proclaiming it, looked for it in my Bible, listened to sermons about it, did Bible studies on it and tried to find it in everything around me. Still it stirs something inside me and makes me question how could it be that simple and yet, the simplicity of it be so difficult to accept?
Grace doesn’t keep score and isn’t expecting a return on its investment. If Grace, then what? I am free from the need to be right, free from having to prove anything, free from having it all together, free to be flawed, human and broken. Weakness is no longer something to be ashamed of, it is suddenly an opportunity for God to be glorified. In our weakness He is strong. It frees us to love those that are not lovely, people who are in fact, unlovable and ugly. I too often voice my feelings about individuals who are often hate filled in their rhetoric or living lives that are in direct contrast to my beliefs. Truth be told I am troubled by the fact that God loves them and would do anything to reach them. Scandalous grace is not fair, it is not worried about a sense of justice, it is not given to deserving people, it is given to undeserving people, of which I am one. It is a one-way love that has nothing to do with the receiver and everything to do with the unobligated giver.
My prayer is that I would begin to seek God in understanding HIS grace; the grace that loved sinners and used them for HIS glory all throughout the Bible. If HE could use them, then HE can use me. My prayer is that when I am confronted with people who are different than I am, whose lifestyle doesn’t fit with my Christian legalistic qualifiers, that I would be able to stop judging them and just love them like Jesus did. My prayer is that God would so radically change my view on grace that I would be in danger of being excommunicated because if grace is dangerous and offensive then it would not be welcome in some of the Christian circles that I belong to. But isn’t that the point? My prayer is that our church buildings would truly begin to feel like hospitals for the weak, the broken, the hurting, the lonely, the outcasts and even the Pharisaical hypocrites. What if that would happen? How would it change the church? How would it impact the world? I pray that God will allow me to not only see it but be a part of the revolution that Grace is sure to bring about!
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.Mark 12: 30-31
Grace and peace to you in God the Father and the LORD Jesus Christ!