Starving For Grace

17 Jul

 

We live in a world where gracelessness is the fuel that runs this machine called society.

“At least they got what they deserved.”

“We’ll teach them a lesson.”

“Nothing is free.”

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

It is a very human attitude. We disguise our un-grace with our sense of hard work, our sense of fair, of right and wrong.

Our sense of justice.

In Phillip Yancey’s “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” He tells the following story.

While in a meeting of prominent christian leaders of the time, there arouse a discussion on what makes Christianity different then other religions. The idea of the resurrection was brought up, but quickly shot down. Other religions had accounts about people being raised from the dead. What about God coming to earth as man? No, that was not unique to Christianity either. Then, C.S Lewis wandered into the room. The leaders asked him the questions, and without a beat, he responded,

“Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”

Grace is not a topic, it is not a certain theological view. It is the gospel. The word’s grace and Jesus are interchangeable.

Salvation is a gift. Furious, unconditional love is offered freely, spilling out of the Creator of the world. It is ours if we just accept.

Grace. It’s the name of a girl. It’s also a thought that could change the world.

In the movie Seven Pounds, Will Smith plays a man desperate to give back that which he (by accident) had stolen. In a scene in the middle of the movie, he finds a broken woman suffering abuse at the hands an abusive man, with no where to run to. Not only does Will Smith take the fearful woman and her children out of that horrible hell they are living in, but he does something unthinkable- he gives her his house. A beautiful mansion over looking the ocean. The woman, at first, was obviously skeptical. She, like we all would if such a gift was offered from a stranger, wanted to know what the catch was. How could a man who just met her give that sort of grace to her and her children, without wanting something in return?

When Will Smith assured her that there was no catch, it was then she was able to let down her guard and fully realize the extent of what had been given to her. In a tear-flowing scene, her children and her walk on the beach, safe and sound from abuse, able to start their lives completely over.

We weep at such scenes because we were created to live inside of them.
But our world is so good at gracelessness, and unfortunately the church has not done much better.

We fear showing this sort of unconditional love because we have been cheated, taken advantage of. We want to teach people a lesson. We want to be wise, mature. We don’t want to give people “a license to sin.” We want justice.

We want people to get what they deserve, but do we really?

She travels outside
Of karma, karma
She travels outside
Of karma

What if we stopped judging things as moral and immoral, and instead, did our best to offer unconditional grace to everyone we met?

From judgmental relatives,
to snobby backstabbing ex-friends.
From famous preachers caught in sexual scandals,
To pimps who prey on children.

Is it too much for us?

Recently in an article about forgiveness in response to the outrage against the Casey Anthony trial.

It was the spring of 1944 when 10-year-old Eva Kor, her twin sister Miriam and her mother arrived in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Immediately, guards ripped both girls from their mother and they were never again to see her, their father or their older sisters.
Shortly thereafter, in a sick bay, a doctor told Eva “You have just two weeks to live.” The doctor was Josef Mengele. He had just injected her with a lethal cocktail of bacteria as part of a barbaric experiment with twins.
Eva had a strong immune system and survived but so, too, did the pain of her suffering. Her sister Miriam suffered an inexplicable disease from the injection of poison. Eva later tried to save her sister’s life by donating one of her own kidneys, but Miriam died in 1993.
In January 1995, at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Kor brought along a doctor who worked alongside Josef Mengele. Eva read a confession of guilt from the doctor who accompanied her and then shocked the world press by saying “In my own name, I forgive all Nazis.”

…If Jesus could ask God to forgive the people that were about to murder him and if a Holocaust survivor could forgive the people that poisoned her and tried to exterminate her family, then what holds you and I back from forgiving anyone?

How is this even possible? It’s not, in a human sense. But when we begin to realize all that has been offered us free of charge, all that we are blessed with that we don’t deserve, the wild wide-eyed gift of life that has been extended to us, we begin to realize that nothing is ours to hold onto, yet everything is ours to give.

When she goes to work
You can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty
In everything

(U2- Grace)

And so, may we dare to offer grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love in a world simply starving for it. Even before taking that step, may we begin to accept it. May we understand life is a gift, everything we long for is ours, free of charge.  In choosing to walk in grace, even when it’s hard and painful, we are fighting against violence, against revenge, against evil itself.

In embracing the gospel of Jesus and feeding grace to a world starving for it, we will be in essence walking inside another kingdom- one where everyone is equal, everyone is welcome, and everyone understands how much they are loved.

 

 

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