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*The Offense of Grace*by Steve McVey

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*The Offense of Grace*by Steve McVey

Post  Admin on Tue 08 Mar 2011, 1:25 pm

*The Offense of Grace*
*by Steve McVey*
* *

The thing about grace that many have a problem with is its appearance of
being carelessly and indiscriminately thrown around by our Heavenly
Father as if there is no limit to it. It just isn't right by human
standards. After all, fair is fair. Give people an inch and they'll take
a mile. Go soft on those who have sinned and the next thing you know
everybody is doing it. People make their beds and they should lie in it.
They need to learn their lesson. You've got to think about the message
you're sending!

Jesus didn't seem to worry about all that in His ministry. He just loved
people and poured out grace, grace, and more grace on the most unlikely
candidates. It galls the self righteous when their own sense of justice
is violated, but Jesus never seemed to worry about what they thought. He
seemed to show such little discernment in how and to whom He gave so
much. Even His stories seem to communicate a message that sounds
downright wrong to religious ears.

In the parable of the laborers found in Matthew 20, those who came in to
work at the last hour received the same salary as those who had worked
all day. Those with the admirable ethic of hard work and dependability
had been out in the hot sun all day long. Then the slackers show up at
the last hour and get the same pay? Come on now! What's fair about that?

Then there is the prodigal son -- a religious zealots worst nightmare.
Here, this young boy in the youth group decides he wants to leave it all
and move to Los Angeles. He asks His father to give him his inheritance
(a subliminal insinuation that he has been thinking he'd be better off
if his Dad was dead) and off he goes to the big city. His life soon
becomes a blur of Jack Daniels, marijuana and strip clubs.

When all his money is gone and he wakes up in bed one morning and rolls
over to see a skanky-looking crack whore (a King James Bible word) who
he doesn't even remember meeting, he is jolted back to reality. "I'm
outta here," he thinks to himself. "Even Dad's minimum wage guys at home
don't have to live like this."

So off he goes, hitchhiking home and all the way thinking of how he will
grovel when he gets there, how he will promise to do better if Dad will
only give him back his old room. "I'll even sleep in the barn if you
want me to," he figures he'll say.

You know how the story ends. The moment comes when this scraggly
looking, nasty smelling, son comes stumbling up the long driveway. His
Dad sees him and immediately tears out running at full throttle. He
falls on his boy and, oblivious to the stench, starts laughing and
crying, hugging and kissing him, all at the same time. The son is
forgiven before he even asks.

The boy chokes up and tries to talk. This isn't what he had expected.
He gets out half a sentence when Dad interrupts and yells orders to fire
up the grill, call our family and friends, see if JJT is available
(Jerusalem Jazz Trio) and let's get this party started!

Hmm...that's a strange story, Jesus. Don't you think it might give the
wrong message? "No," our loving Savior would answer. "It gives the right
message. The message is this: It doesn't matter how pathetic you are,
how low you have gone and how long you have been there, I love you and
accept you."

It isn't about you and me. It never has been and never will be. It's
about Him and His ridiculous, irrational, excessive, loving grace. The
self righteous crowd might as well shut up. Jesus is Jesus and He's not
going to change to fit their expectations. Thank God.
www.gracewalk.org


*THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK*

*There is no situation so chaotic that God cannot from that situation,*
*create something that is surpassingly good.*
*He did it at creation.*
*He did it at the cross.*
*He is doing it today.*

*-- Handley C. G. Moule*
*

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