Grace, what have You done? Murdered for me on that cross. Accused, in absence of wrong, my sin washed away in Your blood.
Too much to make sense of it all! I know that Your love breaks my fall. The scandal of grace, You died in my place so my soul will live. -The Scandal of Grace by Hillsong United
Grace is one of those buzzwords that is thrown around Christian circles, but if I am going to be totally honest with you, I have to say I don’t completely understand it. We have all heard, and probably said, that we are saved by grace.
The definition of grace is the “free and unmerited favor of God.”
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. -Romans 5:8
But what does that really look like?
It sounds pretty awesome when I am in my car and listening to the song, but I get to work and I am like:
And then I come home and my husband is parked in front of the Xbox instead of feeding the kids and I’m like:
Why is it SO HARD to show grace to others?
One of my favorite authors is Brennan Manning and I read his book The Ragamuffin Gospel shortly after I became a Christian. He says that we can’t give grace until we fully accept the grace God has offered us.
“Maybe this is the heart of our hang-up, the root of our dilemma. We fluctuate between castigating ourselves and congratulating ourselves because we are deluded into thinking we save ourselves. We develop a false sense of security from our good works and scrupulous observance of the law. Our halo gets too tight and a carefully disguised attitude of moral superiority results. Or we are appalled by our inconsistency, devastated that we haven’t lived up to our lofty expectations of ourselves. The roller coaster ride of elation and depression continues. Why? Because we never lay hold of our nothingness before God, and consequently, we never enter into the deepest reality of our relationship with Him. But when we accept ownership of our powerlessness and helplessness, when we acknowledge that we are paupers at the door of God’s mercy, then God can make something beautiful out of us.” -Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
Its almost too big for my brain to comprehend. God didn’t begrudgingly save us. He didn’t send his son to die for us because it was “the right thing to do.” When we are at our lowest, He doesn’t just love us, He relentlessly pursues us. Has anyone ever relentlessly pursued you after you wronged them? Me either. Maybe thats why its so hard to accept.
Grace is a clean slate. No strings attached. I don’t deserve it, but God is giving it to me anyway. Not only giving it, but rejoicing when I accept it.
“The way we are with each other is the truest test of our faith. How I treat a brother or sister from day to day, how I react to the sin-scarred wino on the street, how I respond to interruptions from people I dislike, how I deal with normal people in their normal confusion on a normal day may be a better indication of my reverence for life than the antiabortion sticker on the bumper of my car.” -Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
I could post quote after quote from the book that convicted me, and even made me tear up with the realization of the concept of grace. If you want to download it for your Kindle, its less than $10 here.
On this Good Friday I know that I will be thinking about the crucifixion in a different way than any year before. And praying fervently that I can not only accept that God is “madly in love” with me, but that I can extend that same clean slate to others. “Grace, what have you done?”