Thursday, December 10, 2009

Grace is NOT an Excuse!

I never cease to be truly shocked and saddened by the way believers treat one another. We say cruel things, we make rotten choices, and we gossip about and judge our brothers and sisters more harshly then any 12 men on a jury ever could. It is my belief that we forgive these infractions because "grace" dictates we do so. We study bumper sticker theology and we believe such truths as, "forgiven, not perfect". If we complain about mistreatment by a fellow parishioner, we are admonished to "show grace".

Christians are not expected to be perfect. We are, however, expected to always be in pursuit of holiness. We are expected (and rightfully so) to be Christ followers who are doing our best to be Christ LIKE. John 13:31-35 gives us wisdom as to how others will know we are Christians. They will know not by our actions, not by how much money we give to the poor, and certainly not by the size of the mega church we build or attend. But rather, they will know us by how we love each other. Read it from God's word; "When he was gone, Jesus said, 'Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him,[c] God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.'"

"Forgiven, not perfect" people like us should not be given a free pass to behave badly. Showing grace to our brothers and sisters does NOT mean that we turn a blind eye to sin, or even just plain meanness! I have seen example after example of Christians who say and do the most horrible things, but it is so often the one who calls attention to the bad behavior who gets the boot. The "whistle-blower" is seen as "intolerant" and "lacking grace".

Get off the pew and LOVE ONE ANOTHER! Holding one another accountable is not a sign that we cannot show grace, but rather it is the most loving and graceful thing you can do for someone we love. Telling the truth in love is what we are admonished to do. Ephesians 4:15 (New International Version) "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." Get off the pew and do not be afraid to speak truth in love!

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