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The Scandal of Grace

A Year in the Spiritual Life... Discover Your Purpose: The Scandal of Grace


The Scandal of Grace

"Dennis the Menace" Copyright: CBS TV 1959

There is Always One Kid

Yesterday I ran into a young person that hangs out with one of my girls. I am not fond of the kid, and he and my daughter know it. He has not shown much respect for my daughter or me, but she still remains friends with him, so I am left with conflicting emotions about him.

When I saw him, I do not believe he saw me. I could have ignored him and said nothing. I could have looked at him with a withering "MOM look". 

Instead I said hi and ended up having a five minute conversation with him. I was polite, even friendly, and I thought the whole experience went well. 

When my daughter found out, she first of all wanted to know all about it. When I was done telling her, she said, "I thought you hated him, why would you talk to him?" and my heart broke a little. 

The Old Me...

The old me would have sent him an ugly look, and a snarled Elvis-like lip curling snarl. But the new me, the one Jesus has been making from the inside out for the last 13 months, just saw a kid that needed to know what love looks like. 

I am no saint. I cringed inside. What mom wants her child to have friends that pull her away from God? Not this mom. But I cannot deny that Christ died for all, even the kid I do not like. God loves us, even the one that makes your blood boil. 

We All Have The List

There is a list of people in our heads. We may not even know we have the "list", but we do. It is filled with names of people like Hitler, Dahmer, Bundy, and Gacy. Horrible men who defied God and man. These men killed at will and perpetrated some of the most horrible crimes known to man.

In addition to these kinds of men, our list may include the crazy sister-in-law that makes everyone miserable, or the parent who treated us badly, or the ex husband or the kid in the neighborhood you don't like, but the list is there. It is filled with people we do not like and we have a hard time applying grace or mercy to. In fact, if you had to imagine a Hitler that was radically saved and on fire for Jesus, would you have a hard time accepting that? I would. I do. 

This is just an exercise to prove a point. Grace is scandalous. God forgives and loves beyond our ability. 

The people we do not like, God loves. We are called to love. Not just to put on a form of godliness, but to love beyond our dislike and beyond our emotions. 

The Scandal of Grace 

I cannot imagine being a Christian in Saul of Tarsus's time. He was on a hunt. Christians were radicals, they were dangerous. They flouted and espoused grace and love, and ignored the law. This was who Saul was hunting on the day he traveled to Damascus. He meant to imprison, and to kill these people. He meant to uphold all he was taught. 

Can you imagine being Ananias? Can you imagine the faith and trust it took to see what God was doing in a man like Saul? 

This is the scandal of grace. Knowing that people like Hitler and Saul deserve one thing, but can have another. There is a gift, freely given by God, that can change everything...forgiveness. love, mercy, all wrapped up in one name: Jesus. 

So how do we proceed from here? How do we reconcile what we feel would be just, with what God's grace can do? 

I don't have all the answers. I just know, that if God can love me: a sinner, an adulteress, a liar, a hatemonger, then He can love anyone. He can do anything! That is the scandal of grace. 

Join the Conversation

Have you ever struggled with showing someone grace? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. 


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A Special Note: 

Hillsong United has a new album. "The Scandal of Grace" is a new song on that album. Download it here

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