The Hard Edge of Grace

Grace makes me uncomfortable sometimes.

There, I said it.

Rare coming from a “believer,” rarer still coming from a pastor.

But when I really boil it down to the essentials, grace hits me hard, and challenges me.

Obviously, I don’t mind grace at all when I need it, when I call out to God and acknowledge my brokenness and shortcomings to Him or to other people. At that point, I’m truly grateful for free forgiveness.

But when I think about the ramifications of a truly loving, forgiving God, of what grace truly IS, it hits me hard, basically because it makes me think of those people that I tend to judge, those people that I try to “cut off” from grace.

It’s one thing when all the “good people” (and believe I know: who is really “good”, after all) get grace, but as my 12-step sponsor likes to remind me, “either it’s grace or it’s not,” and if it IS grace, then that means an awful lot of people get grace that simply don’t fit into my “good” category. These are the people that *I* like to judge, the people who aren’t spiritually curious, who are content in their anger and apathy, who are consumed by revenge and who would choose to remain small-minded and fearful about the universe.

Even they get grace.

It’s similar to the old adage, “Justice or mercy? Mercy for myself, justice for everyone else.”

My own mind doesn’t like that. I’d much prefer a hoop to jump through, or some kind of judgment first.

But then that’s not “grace” is it?

Grace is free. FREE. And WE don’t get to determine who gets it, and frankly the more I learn about this God in whom I live and move and have my being, the more I learn that He tends to be a lavish giver, and He will not be restrained.

I actually think He’s harder to avoid and reject than to discover. He’s sort of relentless that way.

I think when I see the Kingdom fully-realized, there will be so many there… Not just the drug dealers and gay people and transsexuals and church people, but also people from the right and the left, people who have THOSE bumper stickers… The list goes on and on.

Why?

Because GRACE, that’s why.

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