Friday, August 24, 2018

In Need of Grace

We are living in a world unlike any other in history, a world where persons feel entitled to dig through the past to uncover anything and everything you have ever said or done or thought or laughed at or listened to or liked and then use that against you, as though today's standards were yesterday's standards. As though you are nothing more than your mistakes.

Most prominently, we're seeing it with historical figures, with the push to remove statues and memorials for men who contributed greatly to the history of this country, for no other reason than that they also happened to be slave owners in a time when slavery was legal. Today, slavery is not legal and is detestable, so how could these men have been so unenlightened, so terrible, as to have ever owned slaves, even in a time when that was the norm? We judge their past by our present, and we write off everything else they ever did.

And this is trickling down now to the common man. It doesn't take much. Someone used a word one time several decades ago in a cultural way that is different than our dominant culture, and now, he is forever despicable. Someone laughed at a crude joke in his 20s and now, he's forever a boor. Someone made mistakes with her first child, and now, she is forever a bad mother. If you disagree with someone about anything at all, you must hate them and everyone like them, and that makes you a bigot (or worse), forever.

This world has taken upon itself the "right" to dig through your closet, pull out your skeletons, and put you on trial for the murder of your own character. Anything and everything you've ever said or done is fair game.

Rightfully, we are people living on edge. Who's next? Seriously. Who is going to be the next person to have his or her skeletons paraded down Main Street, plastered across the headlines, broadcast on the air waves?

In a world like this, in a culture bent on uncovering every hidden thing, in a time when anyone anywhere can be held accountable to anything at any time regardless of anything else, we need the story of Jesus now more than ever. We need the story of mercy. We need the story of grace.

See, the world wants you to pay for everything you've ever done, but the goodness of Jesus is that He already did. The world will never let you live it down, but Jesus has already raised you up. The world won't let you forget, but Jesus has forgiven you.

You'd think this would be the message that we, the Church, would be plastering across our billboards. You'd think it'd be all over our bulletins. You'd think we'd be shouting it from our pulpits and screaming it from street corners. You'd think we'd be whispering it into the wounded souls of the uncovered.

Christ has covered you in grace, and no matter what this world says to you or about you, you are not your past. You are not your mistakes. You are not your sins. You are not your worst moment;

You are your best self, your life abundant, a child of God by the beautiful gift of grace.

A gift...that we need now more than ever.

May we be a people who come carrying it, like cups of cold water on a brutally hot day. Like refuge in the midst of a thrashing storm. Like life in the face of death. Like love confronting condemnation. Like truth opposing lies. Like light in the darkness, like salt of the earth.

Like Christ Himself.

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