Most people understand and agree that life is messy, but to project our messiness onto a beautiful concept like grace sometimes makes some people squirm. ~ Steve Austin
For those of you who will tell me that trigger warnings are bullshit, and don’t need to exist – I respect your right to think as you may, provided you also respect my knowledge that some DO need them. For those of you who do – and if you’re triggered by anything – especially the mention of rape, you might want to give yourself grace and stop reading for now. And that’s okay!
What word picture does your brain conjure up with the term messy grace? Alone, at least for me, it made me tilt my head and entertain the confusion as I tried to make sense of what it could possibly mean.
As seen in the definition word picture above, these words do not naturally fit together.
Messy is a word I’m increasingly familiar with. Untidy or dirty. Yes, this. From my childhood and through these moments raising my own children, untidy can describe our house at any given time. Not always dirty, but untidy – absolutely.
Then, there is this concept of grace. Grace has always painted a pretty picture of someone who deserves forgiveness and grace. Deserves being the operative word. To tell me otherwise has seemed like a foreign concept.
To have the audacity to claim that the God would offer someone grace, someone who DOESN’T deserve it, it was mind boggling to me. To drive this point home, you’re going to tell me that the asshole who raped me gets this free and unmerited favor – I’m sorry, but this does not compute. This. This just isn’t fair.
That’s exactly the message of grace. It isn’t fair, and isn’t justice. Justice is the polar opposite of grace. Grace isn’t only for the deserving. And, each and every one of us should be very glad about this. If we are being honest, there is not a human being alive who is perfect and not in dire need of some free and unmerited favor – grace. But, as it’s definition indicates, it is freely given to ALL. ALL people – regardless of their checkered past, their messy present, or whatever the journey of life escorts them to in the future.
But, so often – myself included, I forget some very valuable lessons.
- Grace is for the undeserving.
- Grace is also for me.
See, I often see myself as less than worthy. I look in the mirror and see the pain looking back. Heck with that whole seeing beauty thing. No. I don’t always like what I see, and God knows I need that same grace. I don’t deserve it – but no one does!
For the people who profess Christ as Savior, (and anyone else who takes the time to read) I’ll remind you that Jesus – in history, the only perfect person – ever – with no sin. That guy died a brutal death (crucifixion) on The Cross – a death He didn’t deserve – so we could have a life (and grace) we don’t deserve!
If you are like me – and every other human being alive – you don’t deserve grace. The beautiful concept is that grace – messy grace – is yours for the taking. You don’t deserve it, but none do. Reach out your hand, and please take mine. Together, we can enjoy this foreign concept called grace.