Apr 042014 4 Responses

Why We Don’t Like Grace

“Truth!” they shout. “We must speak truth!” But they do so without any sense of compassion. It’s screamed and shouted; it’s proclaimed with a sense of glee and superiority instead of a sense of brotherhood and understanding.

“Love!” others shout. “We must show love!” But they do so without any sense of fact. It’s stated more as a deserved condition rather than as a result of God’s amazing act.

Everyone claims to like the concept of grace, but when it’s true nature is realized, we balk. We like an aspect of it, but we don’t like it in its totality. And because we don’t like the fullness of grace, we often reject the true Biblical nature of grace. (See: What I Mean When I Say ‘You Are a Sinner’)

Grace, as Paul Zahl has defined it, is a love that “negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold.” Grace is not a right; it’s an undeserved love which is present in spite of the receiver, not because of the receiver.

This is why we don’t like grace. It does not exist because of the denial of truth; it can only exist in the presence of truth.

Those who follow Jesus dislike grace because we like to believe God loves us because we are better than others. We assume we have done something to earn God’s grace. We assume God could never love us unless we are somewhat different from others. So when we speak truth about the nature of sin, we are deceived into thinking we aren’t really sinners. We believe God’s love is a sign our actions aren’t as bad as others.

Those who don’t follow Jesus dislike grace because they like to believe God loves them because there is no right and wrong. They believe they have not offended God in any way with their actions. It is assumed that love doesn’t speak truth, never says a hard word, and always accepts whatever someone desires as good and right.

Both of these approaches equally miss the true nature of grace.

When it comes to grace, all of us face the temptation of either downplaying our sinful condition or denying God’s truth. We will either believe we are better than we are, or we will convince others they are not as bad as some say. Neither is true.

Grace fully announces our true sinfulness, without hesitation, while also proclaiming God’s tremendous love for us. Truth and love co-mingle in a way which makes every human uncomfortable.

Only God lacks any uneasiness when it comes to the relationship between truth and love. Because of our uncomfortableness with the two, we attempt to shade one or the other.

So some speak truth without any semblance of compassion.

Others proclaim mercy while downplaying the very reasons why need mercy.

Thankfully God embraces both truth and love.

Ironically, those that embrace grace will likely be disliked by both the believer and unbeliever. We will be called too loving by the religious and too judgmental by the secularist. (See Tim Keller: When Sin is Grievous and Grace is Stunning)

The good news is that is exactly how they treated Jesus.

To those who are afraid to say what the Bible says, understand that grace demands truth.

To those who are audacious enough to feel superior to others because you sin differently than them, understand that truth demands grace.

 For more, see:

Who Am I to Judge?

 

4 Responses to Why We Don’t Like Grace
  1. es Reply

    I may have plenty of questions concerning faith, some I understand some I do not. Some I agree with others I adamantly oppose. Christians, in general, may frustrate me to no end because of the lack of thinking they often do concerning anything that requires even a minute amount of thought. Cynicism may run supreme in my thought processes (for better or worse).

    What I do know is that I respect you, Kevin Thompson. Thank you for being authentic in what you say and thus what you do. Most importantly, I appreciate that whether the topic is unpopular or not (both secularly or in the faith community) you do your due diligence in study and research and simply do not regurgitate a political standing. Thank you!

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Thanks Eric. One request I would make: determine your opinion about Christianity solely on Jesus and not on those who may or may not follow him. I desperately want to be fair. I’ll do my best to do so and whenever I fail please feel free to point it out.

  2. […] Yet justice is also an integral part of God’s character. To love God is to love justice. We ar... kevinathompson.com/true-picture-justice-grace
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