These past couple weeks ive been struck by and also discouraged by what I see around me…in the church. that’s right…the people that are supposed to be children of God…not really living like it. all this with a general theme that I’ve been hearing/reading/seeing repeatedly that just because someone says (and even believes) they are Christian doesn’t necessarily mean that it is so (Isaiah 58, Matthew 25, John 15, James 2). Then I find myself being super critical and judgmental. Gosh, im really not any better.
So needless to say I’ve been feeling really drained and emotionally tired.
Then this morning God opens my eyes again to this thing called his grace.
On my drive to work I was listening to a message by Rankin Wilborne. It was basically about the idea that one of things that makes Christianity so offensive to people, to us, is actually this idea of grace: that God would love us, regardless of where we are at in our lives. It sounds nice but he challenged me to really think about that. When you think you’re pretty good and someone treats you lovingly that’s pretty rad…duh, that’s obvious. But when you know you’re pretty rotten inside and someone lavishes real love on you, that’s jarring…humiliating, and “traumatic” (in Wilborne’s words).
He drew out this point from the episode in Jesus’ life, the night that he knew he was going to be betrayed, when he washed his disciples’ feet. So Jesus comes around to Peter to wash his feet (a disgusting job reserved only for the lowest person) and basically Peter says “No way, Jesus! You’re my master…I can’t let you do that!” Jesus then lets him know that unless Peter allows Jesus to do this, he can’t be part of a real relationship with Jesus (alluding to the fact that Jesus would, in fact, die for Peter’s sins). Peter’s response seems like a respectful thing, but the idea that underlies what he said is that he can’t accept Jesus loving him this way…in his unloveliness. But you see, that is what grace is: letting Jesus love us in our crappiness. We can’t tell Jesus to love us when we have our act together…first off, that day will never come and second, if that day did come then that’s the day we are saying God should wash our feet. WHY WOULD GOD, THE SOURCE OF ALL LIFE, BE OBLIGATED TO WASH OUR FEET?!?!
Just in case I wasn’t getting all this, Jesus shows me even more grace this morning. So, I was completely lazy last night and this morning, even though I have sooo much work to do. I was late to our professional development meeting this morning at work…but I still got “staff cash” (its like a little raffle ticket that people get for being on time). Then Grace (Yun) sat down right next to me (haha). Then at the end of the meeting, that I was slightly dozing through (I know terrible huh…after like 9 hours in bed!), I win the raffle. Man, I really didn’t deserve anything like that. I know that’s not even comparable to how Jesus died for ALL of my sins, even the ones i committed and will commit today. Now, this is no license to keep living in sin, in fact, if I really taste his “traumatic” grace regularly, I shouldn’t be able to help but change…out of love for him. the moment I take his grace for granted is the moment it is no longer grace to me.