Today I am revisiting a blog post that I wrote several years ago. My reason for revisiting it is because I found out something about someone this weekend that rocked my world. Someone that I considered a friend many years ago, someone that I still maintain contact with on social media and at Christmas, someone I respected. Someone that did some pretty horrific things. I am having a really hard time navigating through the new knowledge about this person and needed to focus on grace. I wrote this blog post after hearing a sermon 3 years ago and I needed to read it again. And again. I am not there yet. It’s going to probably take me some time but maybe it will resonate with you as well.
Grace isn’t fair.
Have you ever thought about that?
At church this past Sunday the message was about grace.
I sat and listened and I guess I needed to hear this message because several things stuck with me.
First of all, grace is not fair.
Now that is not a bad thing even though it sounds bad.
The scripture selection was from Matthew 20: 1-16. You can click here to read that passage if you wish.
The text of this selection relates the story about a vineyard and the owner and laborers. The short simplified version is that the laborers who worked just part of the day got the same wage as those that worked the entire day. The laborers that were there all day said it wasn’t “fair”. The owner reminded them that they agreed to work for that rate so they had nothing to whine about. It wasn’t an act of injustice – it was more like an act of mercy to those who came late in the day to work.
The pastor went on to relate a story about Jeffrey Dahmer who was a serial killer and sex offender. He revealed that just a couple of months before he was brutally killed by another inmate in prison he became a Christian. God’s grace became his salvation and he was forgiven for his horrific crimes. Our pastor, as well as many others including Max Lucado from whose book he had used for part of his sermon, admitted that he had a difficult time with that.
Why should a man who led a despicable and deviant life be allowed to have the same “privileges” as the woman who sat next to me in the church pew?
Because of grace. Plain and simple.
Grace is not fair. It does not matter what went before. It simply does not matter.
Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God.
I can do absolutely nothing to win God’s grace. It is mine just by believing.
If I am to be living out my life in the way that God asks me to I need to be able to accept that each and every person, no matter how they may appear to be in my own eyes, has the same access to that grace as I have.
That is what hit me.
We are all unworthy and yet….God’s grace is what is freely given for each one of us if we choose to accept it.
I think I needed to hear about the extravagant and outrageous grace that God offers to ALL this week. As for my friend – I am praying.