Grace…so amazing !
I was comparing notes with a friend who in her profession has to deal with a large number of people daily. We agreed that it is a challenge for us to interact with people, and especially in the context of the church.
Christians have some how “earned” a negative image over the years, in a book called unChristian by Barna Group, the author wrote alarmingly on the number of people who viewed Christians with hostility, resentment and disdain. I know some people totally disagree with this finding. Given some of the statistics might not be objective, but the truth of the matter is, a lot of Christians sadly do have the tendency not to act in Christ like manner. I am sure that is why these days a lot of people of the faith rather called themselves followers of Christ than Christians.
I am not here to debate or try to solve this issue, but simply pointing out an observation from my own personal experiences that Christians can be very harsh on each other. The bottom line, as I thought about it carefully, that even we are people who are saved by grace, we are not always grace-givers.
I read a book many years ago about how grace is abused. I cannot remember the author or the title of the book, but I do recall with sadness this illustration:
He wrote that if there is an immoral person who walked into the church building, we would be very enthusiastic and would exercise our love and care just to make sure this person is “converted” to our faith. As he needs Christ to fix his problems and straighten out his life. But the same care and love will be replaced by something else once this person becomes a Christian and later back slide to his old sinful habit. Instead of having met with the same love and care before his conversion he will be faced with “correction”. The expectation is different and thus the reaction is not the same as before.
I am not saying that we do not need to correct our brothers or sisters if they step away from the Lord, but it is the manner we do it. The reason this topic came to my mind, as I hate to confess, is not because I think I got this mastered, but actually from the reprimand of the Lord. He has laid this heavily on my heart this last few days.
“How have you abused my grace?” He has asked.
“This grace has cost Me my life, it comes with a hefty price, so why do you cheapen it?”
I have stopped and wondered, and reflected. In the name of “doing the right thing”, I can be so wrong. I have withheld the exact thing that has been given to me freely for the sake of being “right”. It is right to intercede for others, it is right to share our burdens in fellowship, but we have to be careful that these good things do not become a time to point our fingers at those who need grace. It is a somber lesson for me to learn, because as I point my finger at others, I noticed that I got three pointing back at me.
Oh, amazing grace how sweet it is, and it saved a wretched woman like me. “Freely you have received; freely give. ” and if all of us practice this, the world will certainly see us differently.