For Christmas I received Philip Yancey's book "What's So Amazing About Grace?" I can't put it down. It is has caused more stirrings in my soul and my mind than anything I have read in a long time. Maybe it is just causing conviction - and a time to take a closer look at my own soul. Maybe it has stirred the die-hard evangelist in me. I don't know. I could probably write 50 blog posts on things that I have read in this book alone, but I figured I would just start with one and see what happens.
Yancey writes: "What trivialities do we obsess over, and what weighty matters of the law - justice, mercy, faithfulness - might we be missing? Does God care more about nose rings or about urban decay? Grunge music or world hunger? Worship styles or a culture of violence?"
I grew up in a church that obsessed over earrings, skirt length, KJV only, music styles and more - but I never heard about grace, justice, mercy or faithfulness until I was 37 years old and starting attending a different church after many years absence from any church at all. I was 37 before I knew what grace was and that I had received it. It still makes me cry.
But what about grace for the young girl who is pregnant and there is no father in the picture? What about grace for the teen at the mall who has more tattoos, piercings and skin showing than my 'white, conservative, evangelistic' ideals would permit? What about the woman who has been divorced 4 times and is now sure she has met Mr. Right? What about the man who can't stop looking at porn, but professes to be a Christian? What about that relative who is a homosexual? What about the child who has chosen a lifestyle that contradicts all your religious beliefs? What about _______________ - you fill in the blank. We can all think of someone or something that grace just might not cover. Or shall we say that we don't want grace to cover.
You see, however, God's grace is enough for EVERYONE. Yep, everyone. The relative, the spouse, the neighbor, the co-worker, the stranger, the pastor, the rebellious teen, those who are a different color or a different religion - God's grace is for ALL of them. God's grace is for you. Grace is a gift made available in abundance, but it must be accepted. Christ won't force His grace on us.
Okay - so Christ gives His grace to us freely, but do we extend the same grace to others? Or does the word "judgment" come more to mind as you reflect on your response to some of the people I mentioned above? Oh that we would see each of God's creation through the eyes of grace. I'm not talking about just accepting sin and looking away from what the Bible clearly teaches is right and wrong. I'm talking about extending grace and showing love to those who are 'different' from you and me. What if we chose to show grace and love to those who are far from Christ and then let Christ work through that to draw them to Him? Do we extend enough grace for people to even get a glimpse of Christ?
May my heart be more concerned with the lost than with the rules, may my life be a reflection of the abundance of grace that Christ has poured out on me and continues to pour out on me. As Paul says in Ephesians 3:7-8 "I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me. . . "
May I be a giver of grace - for there is enough for everyone.