I continue to edit this months chapter Grace for my new book Lets Go Find This Kingdom Come. However, at this point I don't see it being ready to be fully posted by months end. So instead I will continue to post excerpts and leave last months chapter seven Prone to Love up... Unbalanced Grace
I was hanging out with a friend the other day. He is in his mid sixties. He is coming into such a wonderful revelation regarding our Fathers love. He has lived his whole life enslaved to a harsh master, need, but He is beginning to discover an always good and loving Father. This beautiful revelation has entered his life in the form of Grace.
For twenty minutes he spoke excitedly about how miraculously astonishing Grace is. As he shared, I whole-heartedly encouraged and agreed with him. When he told me about the incredible freedom he was discovering through amazing Grace, I laughed with him, reveling in the wonder. When he described how Grace was setting him free from sins that had haunted him his whole life, I grinned and nodded my head enthusiastically and said, “Grace is good like that!”
He was well into praising how Grace was changing the way he saw people when it happened. I’ve seen it before, heck, I’ve done it myself. Suddenly, like a fist to the jaw, he balanced it.
While describing the most beautiful revelation, while speaking with more passion and freedom than I had encountered in my 18 years of knowing the man, suddenly, and at absolute odds with what he had been sharing, he blurted, “I know you can abuse it, grace.”
He balanced it.
I could almost hear his thoughts “maybe I have gone too far, this grace thing is starting to sound too good to be true." And I understood what happened. Grace can be a scary thing, especially when no one balances it. You see, I had been agreeing with him without reservation and I think that ugly religious muscle spasmed.
It’s not his fault. That ugly religious grace has been dished out and taught by those who have a greater fear of the world we live in than revelation of the kingdom of heaven; those who focus more on need than Love, on not sinning instead of becoming His righteousness (2nd Cor 5:21). When need trumps love, grace is a cheap parlor trick – empty rhetoric.
Those that teach us that we can abuse grace don’t fully know Grace. That teaching looks at Grace through the lens of need. It dumbs Grace down to a commodity that can be traded for freedom, or forgiveness, or favor. Balanced grace is a lie that enslaves us to live in the reality of need. A balanced grace is simply another way to control. If Grace can be balanced, its power is neutered. And a powerless Grace is a cruelty greater than no grace at all.
Grace wont be balanced! He is too perfect, too whole, too free, too just, too pure, too kind, too strong, too wild, too holy… Grace won’t be belittled, Grace can’t ever go bad or run out, He is the good news - always.
After my friend attempted to balance it, there was a dark silence that threatened to ruin everything. For just a moment we teetered on the brink of a faith crisis, but Grace would have none of it. Right there on the verge of hopelessness, I told my friend the beautiful truth I am always growing in, “You can’t abuse Grace.”
I went on to tell him that Grace isn’t too good to be true, just the opposite, its too good not to be true. Grace is unmerited favor. We can’t do anything to earn it and we can’t do anything to abuse it. It’s the gift of His nature given through Jesus. Its one of the most beautiful expressions of His always-good love for us. Grace releases us to see ourselves from His perspective and empowers us to live in agreement with how He sees us, as saints of the highest One...
...I would like to suggest that this journey we are on is about discovering unbalanced Grace.