A young woman majoring in philosophy at the local college, simply would not accept the premise that anyone would receive grace. Mostly because her world view prohibits receiving anything that you don’t deserve. Her whole premise is that you only get what you deserve. If you do bad things, then you deserve to reap the consequences. If you do good things, then you deserve to reap the rewards.
It’s very black and white. It gives us a sense of control to say, “If this then that.” It promotes a sense of order. However, the world and society at large are not black and white.
Astrophysicist say that we are all made of stardust. I prefer to think that we are made in the image of our Creator. Regardless of your semantic approach, humans are not merely black and white. We are messy, chaotic. Full of love and fear, heartache and yearning, joy and contentment, worry and ecstasy, anticipation, and mistakes. We are full of jealousy and greed and contempt, compassion and pride, logic and instinct. We are wonder and awe, and light and dark. We are angry and lustful and tender and compassionate. We are all of these things.
So, of course we are going to make mistakes, we are going to do things that hurt ourselves and other people. I think that most of us make honest mistakes. If we knew better, we would do better, but we don’t so we won’t. As a result, we are left with this aching need, this immense chasm, longing for some kind of relief. We try to fill the chasm with logic, and reason, or blame and justification. We may try to fill it with sex, drugs, and rock n roll. What we really long for is absolution from those we have wronged, and from ourselves.
How do we get that forgiveness? How can we forgive ourselves when we have made a mistake so terrible that innocents are forced to reap the consequences of our choices? The black and white non-grace way is to say, “You’re beaten. You’ll just have to live with the consequences. Sucks to be you. ” I hate that.
Grace throws the whole thing for a loop.
Grace says, “If you messed up, then you are forgiven.”
“If your mistake is so huge that other people are suffering, then I’m going to make it all right for you,”
Grace says, ” Despite your mistakes, you still get a second, third, and 100th chance. Despite your jacked up choices, YOU are still loved. “
If there were no grace, there would be no peace, no compassion, no tolerance. Love would be conditional. And we would all get what we deserved. Personally, I don’t want to live in a world without grace.
Just for Today
I’m going to try and accept Grace that is offered to me. When my head says, “You don’t deserve that.” I’m going to remember that Grace is a gift and I should accept it gracefully. When someone wrongs me, i’m going to choose to extend the same grace that was given so freely to me.
Thank you, GOD for your never ending grace. Thank you for cleaning up my messes and helping me to forgive myself. help me to use my experience to help others to heal from their own bad choices . Give me the strength and courage to go do what you would have me do.