Grace Deficiency: Pointed fingers, upturned noses and a great big lack of grace

usSo imagine being told someone has no desire to meet your spouse.  Because of preconceived notions and judgments they have formulated in their own mind. The person who has most demonstrated God’s love to you, they do not want to meet. The dilemma I face brings much heartache.  But God is turning my dilemma into a great lesson.

I learned a lot about people over the course of a messy divorce.   I learned even more about the unending love and amazing grace God has for His children. For those who stand in judgment of others and refuse to accept them leads me to believe a grace deficiency exists.

I have come to realize when you struggle with sin, there will be those who stand casting stones.  They point their fingers and make their judgements neglecting to notice the plank in their own eye. The large plank leaves very little room for God to move.

So imagine standing in a room full of people.  You are  alone and weighed down by the struggles and sin that consume you.  As you look around the room, you try to make sense of a life gone wrong.  All around you are those who turn up their noses, pointing fingers while making assumptions of every wrong decision you have made. The loneliness consumes you.  Suddenly you look up and see a familiar face standing next to you.  You are flooded with confusion. Why?  Because it is Jesus and He is standing beside you.  You don’t understand.  You see, the room is full of people who have lived such good lives.  They do all the right things.  They say the right things. Their lives are full of good works. But Jesus is standing with you?  As if He hears the thoughts playing through your head, He speaks.

 

“Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do.”

Then He adds,

“Now go and learn the meaning of this scripture: I want you to show mercy not offer sacrifices.  For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

 

Matthew 9:12-13

 

Tears stream down your face. There it is.  In a nutshell.  He is standing with you because you get it.  You know you are a sinner and you know you need His grace.

 

Sometimes those living a “blameless” life find it hard to understand how “others” can be used by God.  But the verse above makes it clear to me.  Jesus takes our greatest failures, our deepest regrets, our biggest heartaches and uses them to do amazing things.  When we seek His forgiveness in true repentance, He restores us.  Not only does He restore, He makes us shine brighter than we ever did before.  Why?  Because we get it.  We recognize that we are frail, weak and sinful. We know we can not live this life on our own.   Once held in bondage by rules and regulations, we missed walking with Him in an intimate way.  However we now understand what it means to fall flat on our face.  To feel the love of the Creator of the Universe as He picks us up and says, “My child I love you.”  The many times we have gotten it wrong and experienced His grace makes it impossible for us to turn our noses down at another.  Instead we see a world full of people just like us.  People who are hurting and broken, longing to be rescued.

 

Oh the longing to be rescued.  But that is exactly what He does.  He rescues.  He pulls us out of the miry clay and begins to mold and fashion us into something beautiful.  But we are not just beautiful.  The incredible thing is we are usable too.  Because we have been beaten and bruised by the ugliness of the world, we’re easier to shape into His likeness. We are easier to mold because we yearn to be like Him. We want to be transformed.   We long to share Him and everything He has done and given to us.  We can’t get enough.  We look at the world and see what He sees:  The hurt, the lonely, the struggling, the abandoned, the beaten, the betrayed, the orphaned, and our hearts overflow with love for them.  We see the world with His eyes.  Our hearts flow with compassion, mercy and grace for those who need hope, who need Him just like we did. And so, He uses us.   Because of His grace we are used to bring His Father glory and show His Father’s love to those who need rescuing.

 

As Christians, none of this is new information. Throughout scripture we find Jesus with the sinners.  With the sinners, the downtrodden and the lost.  He was with the ones who needed love and rescuing but most of all, needed Him. He avoided the ones who “followed” the rules. They had no place for Him in their lives because they did not get it.

 

The mission of Jesus: To rescue the wounded and broken and love the one’s cast aside by the world. That should be our mission too.  Not to turn up our noses at those who stumble and fall but instead to offer them the grace, mercy and love that Jesus offered to us.  Why? Because He offered it to us first.

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