Tuesday's Child is Full of Grace, June 30

30 Jun

..I believe that dispensing God’s grace is the Christian’s main contribution. As Gordon MacDonald said, the world can do anything the church can do except one thing: it cannot show grace. In my opinion, Christians are not doing a very good job of dispensing grace to the world, and we stumble especially in this field of faith and politics.
~ Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?

hymnsIt’s been difficult to keep up with the news in the past few days. Mark Sanford, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays, Honduras…not to mention Iran and North Korea. There’s a lot of pain, a lot of ugly a lot of scary stuff going on.

When the Sanford story hit last week I wrote:

What I am not, and what Mark Sanford may not be much longer, is a keeper of the public trust. That doesn’t make Sanford more of a sinner than I am. We both need grace. Lots of it.

Does Sanford deserve grace? No, not any more than you or I. But that’s why it’s grace. That’s why it’s God’s marvelous infinite matchless grace. It’s God’s unmerited favor. None of us deserve it. We don’t want to get what we really deserve. But God’s grace is freely bestowed.

When the news of Michael Jackson’s death hit and the media began their “news” frenzy, a friend on another forum said:

Though why people care about some creepy pedophile being dead…

To which I responded:

Perhaps, because while the suspicions will always remain, he was acquitted of any charges.

Perhaps because, while he was a shining example of all the weirdness the entertainment industry has to offer he was an incredible and revolutionary performer.

Perhaps because, no matter who you are, 50 is way too young.

Or perhaps just the simple fact that none of us deserve Grace.

Grace doesn’t excuse Mark Sanford. Grace doesn’t excuse Michael Jackson. But it speaks to us in a broken world where sin entered through one man, and through that one man all have sinned. And even through grace, sin has consequences.

Not to go off on a theological tangent, but I believe God’s grace is freely offered to all, and it’s up to us to accept it or reject it. He’s patient. That’s part of His grace as well.

Mark Sanford has admitted that he needs grace. An email earlier today asked those of us who considered supporting him to forgive him. I can do that. For his wife, his sons and the people of South Carolina, that may be more difficult.

Was grace available for Michael Jackson? I believe it was. Yes, even with all the weirdness and accusations, grace was there. We may never know if he embraced it.

The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving,
even though we have rebelled against him.
~ Daniel 9:9 (New International Version)

For those of us who are followers of Christ, it may be painful for us to admit, but we are no better than, nor any less deserving of condemnation than Sanford, Jackson or anyone else. We all need grace. We all need a Savior.

Over 2000 years ago, our sins were nailed to the cross. There Jesus said the work was finished. Now, what are we going to do with it?

“Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.”
C.S. Lewis, In Mere Christianity

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