In a world where more and more is acceptable, we have a smaller and smaller need for grace. The problem when I have a smaller need for grace comes when it’s my turn to give it. As Jesus said, forgive as you’ve been forgiven.
If I get to a place where I do not need much forgiveness, I will struggle to offer forgiveness.
We saw this problem played out with the Pharisees. They did not see much (if any) fault in themselves. So it was easy for them to look down on others in whom they saw fault.
I know what this is like because I struggle with self-righteousness. I didn’t wake up one day and decide to imitate the Pharisees. Over a period of time, I decided I was better than others because I did a better job of following the rules.
This is odd because I stuck in an addiction to porn at this time.
The rules I refer to though are a biased and slanted morality which I created. It may have originated from some of Scripture. It was something of my own making by the end though.
It justified many wrongs and even called them something that was right. Living under your own moral code means you break the rules far less often. This is convenient and also destructive.
Creating an artificial separation between myself and my sin led to separating myself from the experience of grace. Though I still needed grace, I did not seek it out. I told myself again and again that I only needed it if I broke my version of morality.
This led me to feeling like I rarely needed grace and so I rarely experienced it. Grace was there for me. I was stuck in the desert mirage of self-righteousness while the well of grace sat feet away.
As I did not drink in grace, none could flow out of me to others. This made my relationships with friends and family very performance based. I spent time with people based on whether they lived up to my standards or not.
I do not recommend this approach to relationships.
Every earthly relationship will require us to give grace. That doesn’t mean we should have unhealthy boundaries or not call attention to abuse. Both of those require calling a spade a spade though.
In a world which accepts more and more, more of our relational activities hurt us while both people receive less and less grace. This means our relationships are more performance and pain than grace, joy, and peace. I understand this last point in particular is a dramatic claim.
I would love to unpack this particular point and talk about more about this on another day. I look forward to doing so. Also, please comment below or on Facebook if you take issue with something I said.
How often do you experience grace? Do you need it more than you think? Do you like to be reminded that you are loved no matter what you do?
Image Copyright: Andrew and hobbesby