Get Right with God: Give Grace
“Get right with God!” I remember hearing that in so many sermons growing up. The topics of sin and repentance were the repeating headlines while the topics of love and grace came less often and with a whole lot less enthusiasm.
I will say right out of the starting gate, I agree. It is critical to do self-evaluation and deal with sin…asking God to forgive along the way. Mistakes are what make us human. But It’s impossible to be in step with God if we’re marching to our own tune, not giving a rip that we’re out of sync with His express desires or commandments. This is expected. Of Believers. People who have said yes and have agreed to follow Him. Soooo, that leaves a bunch of folks that don’t know much about this God stuff and are oblivious to being “out of step.”
I also know that few people are drawn to anyone or anything that starts out condemning and criticizing. I don’t often tell people how they’re messing up or what they need to do in order to be better. I tell them what I think God would say, “You’re going to be OK and remember that I think you’re awesome just the way you are.”
Sometimes I get a little boosted insight from the Lord and feel like I can sense when a person is struggling but they hold back on the “whys” and “whats” they’re dealing with. If I went right to the heart of the problem and said, “Well, first you have to stop drinking and sleeping with the mailman, then we can talk,” their eyes would glaze over and they’d freeze me out. (I’ve never actually encountered this specific combination. So glad.)
Instead, I try to convey my affection as well as concern for their heartache. I tell them what I believe is true: Nothing is impossible with God. I tell them that first they need to start to love and forgive themselves, then ask God what He wants to do in and through them; Let Him start the work.
My job is to offer kindness and hope through Jesus. Their option is to accept it. God’s job is to offer grace and prompt positive changes. The end.
I meet so many people who all filled with shame, guilt and self-loathing. They live with the heavy weight of regret and lack of hope. They can sit down and tell you in a lengthy conversation what’s wrong with them, but even under serious pressure can’t scrounge up a few words about what’s right with them.
As a Christ-follower, I want to be on the look-out for what’s right in each person I meet. I want to remember to tell them all the good I see and all the promise I know God has for their future.
I think if you “get right with God” you’ll want to do the same thing. To get right with God results in being full to overflowing with grace for His people.