We love to talk about how we have been saved by Grace, how our theology is rooted in Grace, how the Gospel of Jesus finds it very foundation in Grace.
We enjoy reflecting upon and contemplating the ethereal theological concept of Grace.
For many of us, more theologically minded (read “nerds”) thinking about the beauty and grandeur of this word and it’s soteriological implication for the life of the Christian is like a drug.
We love to explore a plethora of theologian’s robust understandings of Grace and attempt to reorient our lives in light of this concept.
But whenever we move grace out of the realm of being an abstract theological concept and into real, every day life, things get a lot more difficult.
Anyone can talk about the marvelous grace of God that has pardoned us from our sins and trespasses and enabled us to be forgiven and free. But how many people are willing and able to extend such radical, unconditional grace to their enemies. They’re “other”?
In my own life, I when I move from the abstract theological grandeur of Divine Grace to what Grace actually would require of me in my day to day life, the concept seems a lot less appealing.
Because if Grace is a radical call to unconditional forgiveness and favor, then the way I interact with and think of so many people in the world must change.
That’s the kicker.
Most Christians will reluctantly embrace the practice of forgiveness. We will mentally let go of our grudges and the faults we hold against others, as hard as that may be.
But if we’re trying to our lives by Grace, we’re not only called to extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us, but to go far beyond that.
Beyond merely absolving them of their wrongs.
Beyond merely letting go of the laundry list of offenses we have against them.
To blessing them. Not with mere words. But with lived action.
Grace not only forgives a thief, it let’s them keep everything that they stole and offer them the golden candlesticks as well.
Grace not only extends mercy to a murderer, it offers them the mental, spiritual, and financial support they need to reform their life and have a legitimate second chance.
Grace not only pardons a terrorist, but it helps them discover love, find hope, and begin a new life with a clean slate.
That’s what Grace does.
It’s radical. It’s wreck less.
But most of all, it’s offensive.
How many people are prepared to not only forgive but to do be a blessing to a person who has caused them harm, shame, pain, and grief?
I know that I’m not.
And I know that most of my fellow Christians aren’t either.
And yet this is the call.
This is what God requires of us.
This is the only way to bring healing and redemption to our world.
It seems foolish. It seems counterproductive. It seems harmful.
There are a thousand “Buts” and “What if’s” that come to mind.
What if the person wrongs me again?
What if they use my blessing to do wrong to another?
No matter what the result.
Grace will continue to flow.
Never-ending. Unconditional. Always available.
But what about Justice?
Grace and Justice are beautiful partners.
When a wrong is done, there are temporal consequences.
A murderer or terrorist should go to prison.
An abusive pastor should be removed from ministry.
But at the same time, Grace must be extended.
Unmerited favor. Undeserved blessing. Unexpected forgiveness.
This is the way of God.
And this is the way that each of us are called to walk.
It doesn’t always make logical sense.
It doesn’t always seem wise, or sane, or right.
But we have a promise that if we align our lives with the Rhythms of Grace, then we will see the Kingdom of God made manifest in our world, right before our eyes.
Grace brings as much healing to the offended as it does the offender.
It heals are deepest wounds and liberates us from the heaviest chains.
When we’re able to look the person who has wronged us deep in they eyes and offer true, deep forgiveness….
…And to bless them. To pour out favor on them. To give of ourselves to them.
That is the space of miracles.
Those are the seeds of healing.
That could actually change a life.
That could actually change the world.
That is the kind of Grace that God has extended to us.
Unconditional. Undeserved. Unmerited.
Everyone gets it.
This is the Grace that Jesus displayed after being beaten, reviled, spat upon, and cursed. The Grace he displayed as he hung on the cross and declared:
“Father, forgive them…”
It is the same kind of Grace that brings salvation to every human being.
The same Grace that gives up hope that a day of redemption and renewal will come to our broken and disordered world.
For most of us, thinking about Grace soteriological and conceptually is wonderful.
But when we have it comes to living it out. It seems impossible.
But if we want to make an impact in our world.
If we want to be witnesses of the Gospel to all people.
If we want to see God’s rule and reign established in every sphere of creation.
We must rediscover and commit our lives to Grace.
For it is truly by Grace alone that we are saved…
As the Scripture reminds us, to whom much has been given, much is required.
May we, who have been lavished with Divine Grace, be those who embody and pour out Grace in every sphere of our lives.
To our friends.
To our families.
To our worst enemies.
And everyone in between.
That forgives freely.
Radical. Powerful. Offensive.
It will save us all.