Grace changes everything.
My whole life has been a long lesson in learning grace. It is one of the biggest lessons I’ve ever learnt and it is one of the slowest coming and one I think I will continue to learn the rest of my life.
Grace is one of my favourite words in the world. It is the concept that turns history upside down. It changes everything and if the world would awaken to grace, everything would be different. CS Lewis said once in a meeting that it was the one thing that made Christianity distinct. The other world religious leaders agreed with him.
Our world is based on merit. You do this you get that. Whether it is good merit: I work hard, and get a college degree. Or sadly, revenge merit…. you shoot my cousin, I get even with you by shooting one of yours.
Grace is the opposite of merit. It gives good things, great things to those who don’t deserve it. It doesn’t just let you off and give you mercy, it gives you over and beyond and gives you freedom and restoration. It is extravagant. It is foolish. It It is a gift from God. And because deep down. All of us.. feel that sinking sense of guilt.
When no one’s looking.
When we are alone in our beds.
When the room is noisy with people and yet our insides feel hollow
and empty. Grace is what our souls hunger for.
In a world where we compare ourselves with everyone else.. grace is offensive to our sense of self- deserving and pride and self esteem. It is against everything having to do with self in fact. I have found grace a hard lesson to learn. Hard to receive from others and hard to receive from God. Because you can’t do anything to earn grace. The word earn and grace can’t even go in the same sentence. And that is incredibly frustrating to self sufficient people. I might be one of them. But slowly God has been whittling away at my sense of self accomplishment and how I compare myself to others and what I think people deserve and I deserve. And the more I learn the way of grace.. the more freeing I have found life to become.
I have learnt grace over and over again.. from the biggest sign of it.. when Jesus died to forgive sinners like me a lesson that I have learnt over and over again since I was a child.
But one of the most profound for me was on a fraternity house floor years ago. The Lord taught me grace. In a wild party with a crying girl on my lap with such a different background then me, I sat there holding her in her tears and the Lord spoke to me that we were the same. Because grace plains people. It tables us. There are no hierarchies. There are no.. I am better than so and so. When grace hits you… you realize you have nothing better to offer. That you are the same as everyone else. That your brownie points don’t count. There’s a lot more to that story, you can ask me about it if you want. I learnt grace that day. Just like I have been constantly learning from the Lord over and over since.
Grace plains us. It stops our comparisons. It says the “worst” of us are no better than the “best” of us and that all of us are pitiful sinners next to a holy God. But that there is hope….
And today and tomorrow.. I hope to continue to learn how I stand in grace – unmerited favour and freedom because of Jesus and how to give grace to others in words, in actions, in even how I think about them and me. It is the most profoundly perplexing of all of my life lessons… and most beautiful.