I’ve got a fire eating my bones. Today I found out that one of our major Denominational Leaders resigned from his post due to an extramarital affair. And I’m mad. At him, not at him. And the last few months stuff’s been churning in me about grace, stuff I’m now sensing needs to get onto paper. There are some ideas floating around that bug me. I think they bug God, too. Things people say, meaning well, that distract from the real issue.
1. “But for the grace of God, go I.” It sounds so spiritual. If God’s hand weren’t on my life, I’d be in the same mess, apparently. So what am I saying? That God decided not to give this leader grace? Grace enables us, I know, I know… but there’s more to it than that. The phrase is too simplistic. It sounds like you can blame God. No grace? Then I’m doomed. What about boundaries? What about filling our soul with things that matter so the gaping void doesn’t consume us with false pleasure? What about working your butt off to cultivate a healthy lawn that resists dandelions in the first place?
2. “We’re all just one step away from moral failure.” No, we’re not. Saying that makes it sound like people wake up one day and think, “I think I’ll trash my marriage and ruin my life today.” It’s not like that. Ever. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, sure… but it takes a whole lotta steps to arrive. We are not just one step away from falling, unless we’ve taken a thousand steps already to get into that position. To deny this is to deny the craftiness of the enemy, the supreme subtlety of sin that can lead us a hair off course without us knowing, and then again, and then again, so that it never dawns on us that we’re drifting. That’s the real danger. That’s how people wake up one day and think, “How could this have happened?” They were looking for one monumental step, and there wasn’t one. There were a thousand little ones that went unnoticed. The thing is, we don’t know how close we are, so we can’t assume we’re a hundred steps away.
3. “A second chance is a human right.” No, it’s not. Grace isn’t a right, it’s a gift. We never deserve it. We can never wave our little pink slip in God’s face. Grace is undeserved, always and period. That’s what makes it so astounding, so scandalous, so life-changing. God has us dead-to-rights, and he forgives anyway. Now I know that Christians ought to naturally extend grace to others because we have received grace and have no right to withhold it from anyone else, but that’s different. That’s about the forgiver’s rights. The sinner has only the right to receive punishment. Praise God for grace that loves us anyway!
Okay, I feel better. But what are your thoughts?