Like two sides to a coin, there are two sides to…GRACE. There is the well known or “Goodness Gracious” type discussed in part I, where we learned grace is given to you and I who don’t deserve it, where we also realized we never could earn it in the first place, no matter how holy we act. The flip side is grace abuse.
I believe there are two ways grace is abused. The first example involves the label no one wants stuck on them: “ENABLER”, which is a person who condones negative or self-consuming behavior in someone else. I was talking with a young lady on the phone about an unhealthy relationship regarding someone we both knew. She brought up recent dysfunctional actions that person had taken. I asked her, “How do you deal with it?” She stated, “I just keep showing him grace”. In Donald Miller’s Scary Close, he asks: “It makes me wonder how many people have damaged their own lives by mistaking enablement for grace?”
The second way I believe grace is abused involves the tension of our relationship with God and the sin that so easily entangles us, as frankly stated in Hebrews 12:1.
One reason why churches of yesterday held revivals was due to the problem of sin that Christians tackled. Today, it isn’t addressed from the pulpit-as much. Is one of the reasons for this omission due to some type of trendy transparency where some folks display their dirty laundry? For example, an author or speaker may share every shaded detail of their past in an effort to connect with their audience. Instead of emphasizing a radical life change because of their brokenness, their sins are hung out to dry.
Melissa Reagan shares: “Still under the liberty of grace we sometimes forget the call to righteousness; we become so proud of being a hot mess that we live however, do whatever, whenever, because grace covers it all.” (*Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth)
Looking back at my life, I remember struggling with a particular sin-pattern for a season. I was sick and tired of trying harder, praying harder, succeeding and then failing again. So I made the initiative to go to a Christian Therapist. For me, the light bulb went off regarding if I should receive counseling or not, when I realized I was in bondage. I had exhausted numerous attempts to change. That is grace. You lift up your weary arms to God. Grace does the heavy lifting according to *Ian Cron. Hypocrisy occurs when we live our lives like nothing is wrong, but we still put on our weekly church-face and warm a pew.
From his book Romans, Paul is direct, “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? (Romans 6:1-2; NLT) On your journey…what keeps tripping you up?
pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon”