Hinged on grace
I am once again struck by the incomprehensibility of grace. God’s scandalous response to sin and death and hell is amazing grace. I fear I am too quick to deny grace in my own life, let alone in the life of anyone else; I tend to diminish it and push it away in my effort to not take it for granted. I forget that there is NOTHING that I can do or say that will ever make God love me less.
Similarly, when people ask how I am doing I tend to just give a thoughtless response of “fine” (not that they really want to hear a different answer); this stifles the real feelings and truth that might answer the question. Sin sounds stronger when we downplay its severity in light of God’s amazing grace. I am not saying that we should minimize sin at all; we are sinners BUT when we keep bringing up our failures in the same conversation it seems to interrupt the strength and power of divine grace. It is like pointing out all the runs Kershaw has given up rather than the number of strike outs he has pitched. It is a skewed perspective.
Further, I like how people tend to naturally downplay sin; how many times have I heard students say, “well, it’s not that bad” when referring to some moral failure they are trying to excuse. I am reminded of the time we played a game outside in the heat of an Arizona summer, and then fed the kids a salty snack. Afterward, they were naturally thirsty and Jim added some “pee” (urine) to the water cooler. Naturally the kids were mad and disgusted. The leaders went ahead and drank, responding, “It’s not that much” and “it’s not that bad”, because they knew that the “pee” was actually apple juice. It was a great learning tool, a teachable moment, to remind us all that any sin will pollute and yet God, through Christ, can change everything.
Grace is what makes Christianity different from every other religious system. Everything hinges on grace. Sin is bad. Grace is greater. It is the final word of Jesus. It is without qualifiers. It cannot be overstated. It is outrageous. Scandalous. Redemptive.