One Currency

One Currency

I’ve been thinking about the word “grace” a lot lately.

Do you remember that scene in Evan Almighty when Morgan Freeman is talking to Noah’s wife and he says to her, “If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous?”

Selah

Sometimes the law is too easy for me. Because instead of comparing myself to Jesus and seeing my inability to keep the law, I compare myself to others and think how much better I am at keeping the law than they are. I am angry at those who hurt me, even if unintentionally. The flag of justice planted in my heart waves for my attention as the pain they brought enters my soul

There will always be a tension between justice and mercy. I side with justice most of the time, maybe because I grew up with the law being preached far more often to me then grace was. Demanding accountability for what they've done, I want every moment to be a teachable moment rather than just being present and offering grace. I speak words and act out of hurt and not out of heart. I react in defense, waving my red flag of justice, asking for them to bow to my hurt rather than sitting with eye to eye, face to face, heart to heart. This is my greatest vice and is such a sin.

I am a failure. So are you. But in Christ, our failure does not condemn us. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). This is not a verse for when we are doing a great job. This is a verse that speaks gospel truth to us when we are failing — when we are at our worst and in desperate need of some grace. I am learning to lean into the truth of standing in this grace rather than dwelling in my failure and sin. I am not condemned. This is grace.

Selah

What does it look like when grace grips us?

I can tell you what it does to me. When it grips me, my heart stops. My posture changes. My eyes close. My head shakes back and forth. All in an acknowledgement that I just don’t deserve what’s been given to me.

The tears come and my heart breaks with repentance. I see how I’ve broken God’s heart, how I’ve hurt others and

 I
just
break.

Grace grips my heart and my mind and my soul. I’m overcome because I'm just such a mess. And I know I do not deserve such beauty. Such care. Such providence. Such love.

Though it has not been easy, and my heart is broken from those who’ve hurt me, God is using this mess to show me the beauty of grace. He is giving me opportunities to show grace to others, helping me put my red flag of justice down. Because the law? Can’t change them. It can show them what is wrong… but it cannot woo their hearts into a place of brokenness and repentance. This is not my job; only grace can do this.

Selah

I am learning not to be the lawgiver, but the grace seeker.

This is the single most difficult thing about being a Christ follower for me. Giving grace to others because I have been given grace. This should be freeing. But instead I feel like a doormat and a sense of unfairness in a world that is all about being fair. What am I to do with the red flags I love to fly so much? Are they to be burned? Put down for good? Set aside, put in a storage room, and brought out once a year?

I’m still trying to figure this out. Can I be a lawgiver and a grace-seeker at the same time? Should one come before another? They both must exist, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2)

Selah

Grace has taught me that perhaps my red flags can become white ones, willing to surrender to “the law of the Spirit of life” (Romans 8:2). Surrendering my will to his, which calls for both flags. Because love does not eliminate brokenness. It restores it. In a world that increasingly calls for a law that destroys, God’s economy calls for something different. It calls for life. Restoration. Shalom.

I am not called to live in the world’s economy. I am called to live in God’s. And God’s economy only has one currency: the grace of Jesus Christ. 

There is no place this is more beautifully and shockingly displayed than on the cross. A place where destruction and restoration meet, a place where beauty and mess co-exist, the only place where both justice and grace live side by side. It was on the cross that the white flag of grace covered the red flag of the law without compromise. 100% law. 100% grace.

May I continue to use the currency I’m given over and over to cover red flags with white ones, to restore what is broken, and to heal what is hurt.

“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1).


Photo credit: Lightstock

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