“There comes a point in life when our major spiritual struggle is no longer with the fact that we are weak and desperately in need of God’s forgiveness, but rather with the opposite, with the fact that God’s grace and forgiveness is overly-lavish, unmerited, and especially that it goes out so indiscriminately. God’s lavish love and forgiveness go out equally to those have worked hard and to those who haven’t, to those who have been faithful for a long time and to those who jumped on-board at the last minute, to those who have had to bear the heat of the day and to those who didn’t, to those who did their duty and to those who lived selfishly.” – Ron Rohlheiser
I am the recipient of much grace and forgiveness in my life. From my parents; from my spouse; from my kids; from my friends. I have mostly received this delicious, never-ending, unmerited favor from God.
And so I think a lot about grace — about what it is, about what it isn’t.
I’ve come to believe that it doesn’t matter how much we’ve been hurt. It doesn’t matter if we hate what someone stands for. It doesn’t even matter if we feel angry and we are justified in our anger.
If I was called by Grace then I am called to be Gracious. If we hold fast to scriptural teaching – we are called to be gracious. Full stop.
I hear the “But…but….but…” on your lips, because it’s on mine as well. I hear the rationalization, the explanation, the “You have no idea what this is like.” I’ve said the same things. I hear the cry “But what about truth? Do I give up truth for the sake of grace?” The two are not mutually exclusive – the two are made to compliment each other, to be lived out together – in tension but in communion. Truth by itself is a prison and grace by itself is chaos. So I will remain insistent – we are called to be gracious. We are to extend grace in all mediums, whether it be conversations, comments on social media, tweets, or emails. We are to extend grace to those we love – and those who we consider enemies.
Will you extend Grace today? Will you be Gracious to those who you feel don’t deserve Grace? Will you take Abigail’s Bread and offer it to mend offense? Will you give Grace to those you disagree with? To those who you feel are wrong and undeserving? These are the questions I ask myself every day. And the answer is always the same.
If I was called by Grace, then I am called to be Gracious.
“In the end, we need to forgive God and that might be the hardest forgiveness of all. It’s hard to accept that God loves everyone equally – even our enemies, even those who hate us, even those who don’t work as hard as we do, even those who reject duty for selfishness, and even those who give in to all the temptations we resist. Although deep down we know that God has been more than fair with us, God’s lavish generosity to others is something which we find hard to accept. Like the workers in the Parable of the Vineyard who toiled the whole day and then saw those who had worked just one hour get the same wage as theirs, we often let God’s generosity to others warp both our joy and our eyesight.
But that struggle points us in the right direction. Grace is amazing, by disorienting us it properly orients us.” Ronald Rohlheiser