Do they not deserve Grace?
Grace is a hard concept. It’s hard because it’s not human. Every fiber of our being tells us to never let go of injustices done to us. Our society, the media, sometimes even our relationships reinforce that when we are hurt, we must hurt back.
I recently started work in a non-profit helping youth in undesirable situations become what they aspire to be. They’re at the lowest point in their life that they have ever been and is an extremely sensitive situation to work in. Every ounce of your being needs to be Grace focused. Every single person I work with has love in their eyes, hope on their tongues, and passion in their touch. It’s a blessing to be a part of this family and it’s forced me to rethink my life and the way that I deal with my decisions and others.
There’s a lot of pain that’s been going on in the lives of the people around me. It’s upsetting for me and being a justice-centered person, I want to see something done about it. The problem is there isn’t a single person going about things in the right way.
Being hurt completely blows, the pain is legitimate and needs to be addressed. But address it with Grace. Fighting pain with pain doesn’t solve anything. This is often the first thing I turn to and more often than not I regret anything I do under that mindset. I’m incredibly blessed to have a friend who is so Grace centered that she bleeds the stuff and is patient enough to teach me how to be full of Grace.
Something that’s often overlooked is a reaction to when people are hurt and they lash out. We believe it more acceptable to criticize and punish those who are reacting to hurt inappropriately than showing them Grace.
Do they not deserve Grace?
Grace isn’t about staying quiet and it’s not about speaking out. It’s the middle ground of listening and responding. There is not a single person on this planet who is good, so why do we expect people to be good? EVERY person does injustice to someone, you may not know it, see it, or understand it, but it is there.
There’s plenty of people whom have hurt me and do not know that they have. I want so bad for them to feel the same pain they have caused me. But I can’t do that, it’s a means with no end. Pain only ends when you address it with love. Seek out those who’ve hurt you, discuss why you’re pained in a healthy, safe atmosphere and mindset, and hopefully they will understand and move towards reconciliation, but if not, that’s okay.
There’s a verse that I’ve been mulling over recently that the Founder and Finisher spoke in the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 18, verses 15 to 20: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (ESV)
These are hard verses for me to swallow. Christ doesn’t ask us to fight on his behalf. He doesn’t ask for justification from something that is subject to his Will and Sovereignty. He asks us to walk away. Find people who are like minded and do his work with those people. Organizations, churches, and coalitions fade, but Christ does not.
I’m in search myself. I don’t agree with a lot of people around me and I don’t believe in the same type of practices they do. I want to find a place that is Grace centered, where the Common Grace of every person, believer and non-believer alike, is exemplified, a place where I can be challenged and grown than feared, uprooted, and tossed aside.
I want to leave some lyrics from the band Being as an Ocean from their song Grace, Teach Us What We Lack for you to mull over. Every time I listen to this song it brings me to tears, not because of injustice in the world, but because of injustice I create, and then the lack of Grace I have for others and myself. This song speaks a better word than I ever could.
See conviction wells up inside, an imprint from above
Seeks to reject injustice and not to judge
Works to fix the things that are broken
Walks in humble regard to their fellow man
And never forgets that the greatest law is Love