Whenever something good happened or whenever something bad happened my grandmother, who we affectionately called “Me-Ma” would always say “GOODNESS GRACIOUS!” But don’t regard her declaration as just some sweet ‘ol southern expression. According to urbandictionary.com that saying is a substitute for cursing. “What?!” But that makes sense. Instead of cursing people or situations that maybe “we” think deserve judgment…Grace is bestowed. Isn’t that the point of grace?
But, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. It is never right to assume; like assuming we all know what GRACE means. That word is thrown around like the way we go through junk mail, just like the words LOVE or FAITH. I love Philip Yancey’s definition: “And grace means there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make God love me less.”
What about the folks who are smug, who do not seem to need grace? You know the ones…they think they are spiritually okay because they attend church three times a week. Listen to a story told by the late Brennan Manning:
“A man walked into the doctor’s office and said, “Doctor, I have this awful headache that never leaves me. Could you give me something for it?” “I will,” said the doctor, “but I want to check a few things out first. Tell me, do you drink a lot of liquor?” “Liquor?” said the man indignantly. “I never touch the filthy stuff.” “How about smoking?” “I think smoking is disgusting. I’ve never in my life touched tobacco.” “I’m a bit embarrassed to ask this, but–you know the way some men are–do you do any running around at night?” “Of course not. What do you take me for? I’m in the bed every night by ten o’clock at the latest.” “Tell me,” said the doctor, “the pain in the head you speak of, is it a sharp, shooting kind of pain?” “Yes,” said the man. “That’s it–a sharp, shooting kind of pain.” “Simple, my dear fellow! Your trouble is you have your halo on too tight. All we need to do is loosen it a bit.” (The Ragamuffin Gospel)
Yancey brings it home, “Throughout the Bible, in fact, God shows a marked preference for “real” people over “good” people.” (What’s So Amazing About Grace) The brother of the prodigal son I guess you could say was a good person. Since he had not committed some of the “taboo sins” like his brother, like womanizing…did that keep him from thinking he needed grace? All of us sin. Some of us get caught. King Solomon was correct when he wrote: “Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.” (7:20 NLT) So since that is true…guess what? We. Need. Grace. And it is only found at the Cross as the Lamb of God took my place…and yours.
Since grace was shown to you…who do you need to show grace to?
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon”