the beauty and the mess of grace
I’ve been thinking about this word a lot lately.
Do you remember that scene in Evan Almighty when Morgan Freeman is talking to Noah’s wife and he says to her, “If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous?”
Sometimes the law is too easy for me. Because instead of comparing myself to Jesus and seeing my inability to keep the law, I compare myself to others and think how better I am at keeping the law than they are.
There will always be a tension between justice and mercy. I side with justice most of the time, probably because I grew up with the law being preached to me and not grace. I want others to feel accountable for what they've done. I want every moment to be a teachable moment, rather than just being present and offering grace. Yes. This is my greatest vice, and such a sin.
I am a failure. So are you. But in Christ, our failure does not condemn us. (Romans 8:1) This is not a verse for when we are doing a great job. This is a verse that speaks gospel truth to us when we are failing - when we are at our worst and in need of some grace.
What does it look like when grace grips us?
I can tell you what it does to me. When it grips me, my heart stops. My posture changes. My eyes close. My head shakes back and forth. All in an acknowledgement that I just don’t deserve what’s been given to me.
The tears come and my heart breaks with repentance. I see how I’ve broken God’s heart, how I’ve hurt others and
Grace grips my heart and my mind and my soul. I’m overcome because I'm just such a mess.
“The love of God freely given to us in Jesus alone carries the power to awaken a response of love in our hearts toward one another.” Tullian Tchividjian
Though it has not been easy, and my heart is broken from those who’ve hurt me, God is using this mess to show me the beauty of grace. He is giving me opportunities to show grace to others. Because the law can’t change them. It can show them what is wrong… but it cannot woo their hearts into a place of brokenness and repentance. This is not my job; only grace can do this.
This is the single most difficult thing about being a Christ follower for me. Ignoring justice and giving grace because I have been given grace. This should be freeing. But instead I feel like a doormat and a sense of unfairness in a world that is all about being fair. But I am not called to live in the world’s economy. I am called to live in God’s.
God’s economy only has one currency: the grace of Jesus Christ.