Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Extra Mile

This blog post is long overdue. Let's go.

There's been a topic on my mind as of late. That topic is grace. Ever since I watched a video on grace, I can't stop thinking about it. It's so fascinating to me. The concept seems so surreal, yet at the same time, so much a part of our everyday lives. We live in a world that is fallen. Grace is becoming rarer and rarer. And when it does happen, it slips by unnoticed. Why is that?

All over the news, we hear about murders, school shootings, drugs, crime rates, gay marriage rights, political scandals, ebola outbreaks, hollywood controversies, and so much more. Only when it's this time of year do you hear about people being nice to each other, and doing random acts of kindness. Now, I'm not against the news displaying the random good deeds of others, because in reality you might get a domino effect going. Which is good, but the holidays shouldn't be the motivator for the reason. The reason should be the motivator for the action.

Let's take God into account when illustrating this example of grace: The reason was us. We sinned. But he loved us so much that he wanted to be with us anyways, despite our brokenness. The action was to send Jesus, who started as a helpless infant, and grew into a righteous man. All the while, never sinning, in order to remove all sin from us, and make us holy in the eyes of God. That's grace right there. We did nothing to deserve God, but he gave us that chance to be with him anyways.

To put it into perspective, let's use this analogy: say that after coming out of college, a student is left with crippling debt. $120,000, to be exact. It would take that person years upon years to pay that off. But if someone heard about that debt and paid it off for them, that would be mercy, because while that person's debt would be paid, they would fall back into debt the next day. Grace would be if that same someone paid off the debt, then gave that student an additional $500,000 for them to live off of. So then imagine that $500,000 appeared in every single person's bank account in the world. Not only would this be highly suspicious, but it would also illustrate how beautiful and free God's gift of grace is. How do you choose to spend that gift, freely given to you? 

In a debate amongst atheists and Christian scholars, the question arose: "What makes Christianity so unique?" C.S. Lewis was there, and after arguing for a while, they flipped the question onto him. "It's simple" he said. "It's grace." This really is the defining factor of Christianity. We would still be living by Old Testament standards if we didn't have grace. And no one wants to live by those standards. They were hard standards to live up to.

Grace is not based on character or merited to us. In fact, it's the complete opposite. If it were based on factors, it would not be grace. If you have been shown grace, you probably won't be acting the same as you did before. And part of the reason why we, as Christians, should act differently, is because we were shown insurmountable grace. Someone died the death that we should have died. We cannot act the same after something like that happens. If someone stepped in front of a car for you today, how would that change you? We don't think about these things a lot, but that's exactly why I wrote this. Because when we think about what Jesus did for us, it should break us. Every time. And yet it doesn't. "Oh someone died for me and removed all of my sin, that's nice." And that's it. That's all the recognition we give. Why is that? If you grew up in the church like I did, then you've probably had Jesus's death hammered over your head a million times. That might be why. If you didn't grow up in the church, then how are you living your life? Is it to give Jesus your all? Allow me end this with a challenge: Next time you have the opportunity to show someone mercy, show them grace instead. It changes lives.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9

No comments:

Post a Comment