Visitors Welcome!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Problem With Grace

This is difficult for me to write. Not because I'm the only one. If I were the only one, then maybe I could accept it a little easier. I could try harder, and dig in a littler deeper. I could discipline myself more. I could will myself to change. I could chant "Yes, we can" over and over and it would actually help. But it doesn't.

I'm not alone here. In fact, I'm one among many . . . I'm one included. We are all together in this scenario. No exceptions.

We are united by Grace.

That fact presents a different mindset and at the same time gives us an epiphany on the human condition.

We can do NOTHING to improve our image or reputation in God's eyes. We are valuable only because He places value on us. Nothing we do can ever change that.

To be sure, our choices do have consequences, and we pay dearly for the good or the bad things we do, and also for other's choices (unfortunately). Everything we do has an effect. Our actions are so powerful to even change the world!

But they can't change Grace.

By Grace, God gives us an equality without human measurement. Grace is so amazing, and I know the blessings we all receive from His goodness. So, since we all enjoy the same placement, you'd think I'd be more OK with the situation? But to be honest, I'm not always OK with it. Sometimes I struggle to accept the fact that I cannot change God's view of me.

When I look at my torn, ragged record, I despair in my flesh. I want to do everything I can to fix my past, to right my wrongs. But Grace says I can't do enough to deserve its favor.

We are so conditioned by our culture. We have all been well-indoctrinated in the intricacies of justice, fairness, and personal responsibility . . . and choice . . . and consequence.

So on this side of the discussion, the hard facts of my life dictate that I constantly prove myself. I do my best to take care of my family. I work hard to make money. I set an expectation of excellence in what I do, and review my strengths and weaknesses to see what I need to work on.

I'm in control.

But then comes this new formula that nullifies that mindset, and obliterates my hard work = success ethic. In fact, this formula nullifies my entire ethical process. I can't be ethical enough to get the desired result. There's no way for me to have X + Y = Value.

That's the problem with Grace.

It is entirely based on His view of us . . . that intrinsic value He alone gives. We can't manipulate the numbers in any way to promote ourselves. He alone works the formula. It is simply beyond our concept.

Grace tells us that God gives us more than we can ever earn, and that offends our flesh because our physical rules of engagement require nothing but the works of the flesh.

It's just another classic story of Freedom vs. Pharisaism.

Thus, the reason for my discomfort.

© Copyright Derek Hickman 2009