I have a confession to make: I’m not good at keeping my blog-writing schedule.
I have a whole schedule mapped out for myself so I can spend time thinking out posts in advance, come up with ideas for content, and then pull everything together into a post the week before it goes on the blog. But I have to actually follow that schedule. I usually wind up writing the post the night before. Like I’m doing right now.
My plan is to post twice per month on Thursdays. So far I’ve done well with the twice per month part. Not so much with the Thursdays (as you can tell). Sometimes I get to Wednesday night and have no time or inspiration.
Such was the case this week.
But this week I think God might have had a greater purpose in mind.
You see, I knew I wanted to write about His radical grace… mostly because Sunday was Easter, and the cross and empty tomb always remind me of just how radical God’s grace is. He loved us enough to rescue us by sacrificing His son. And He loved us while we were still sinners, before we got our act together, or did anything to clean ourselves up.
I think this is best demonstrated in Jesus’ words from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He speaks forgiveness over the people who have tortured and crucified him, the ones who cried out for His death to suit their own agenda, the ones who chose a convicted criminal over the sinless Lamb of God. He even speaks it over us, the ones who weren’t there, but whose sin sent Him to the cross.
I look at that moment and shake my head in disbelief. Thinking back over my own life–the choices I’ve made, the ways I’ve hurt others, the ways I’ve hurt myself–it’s hard to believe that Jesus’ love for me would move Him to pour out such grace on me. And He poured it out freely– with no strings attached.
So that’s what I wanted to write about. And I wanted to write about how we Christians need to do a better job at sharing this same radical grace to others.
But I wasn’t sure how to put that into words.
And then I heard about a terrible tragedy.
Three people were killed and another injured during a shooting in Kabul, Afghanistan. The shooting took place at a hospital run by CURE International. CURE has hospitals all over the world where they treat children who otherwise couldn’t afford the medical attention they need for situations like cleft palates, club foot, and bowed legs. I had the privilege of working with their facility in the Dominican Republic nearly 7 years ago, and my heart aches for this loss to their family.
But in the midst of the sadness, there’s a story of radical grace. You see, the gunman shot himself after shooting the other victims. And yet he’s alive as I type this. He was saved by the other medical staff at the CURE hospital.
Can you imagine working to save the life of the person who just took the life of a close friend or family member? I don’t know that I can. And yet these doctors did just that. They chose to show him the same grace they have experienced in their own lives.
You and I might not be asked to show grace in such extreme circumstances, but we will definitely be given opportunities to be radical with our grace. When the time comes, will you be able to do what God is asking of you?
Here are 3 ways you can prepare for that moment:
1. Understand God’s love & grace for you. Until you truly understand that these are a totally free gift for you to receive, your love for others will carry a price. Until you truly understand that these gifts will never run out, you won’t be able to share freely with others. Pray with Paul for the power to understand the vastness of God’s love and grace (Ephesians 3:18-19).
2. Ask for eyes to see as God sees. Radical grace is motivated by radical love. And God loves radically because He sees us as the lost, hungry, captive people we are. He sees our greatest need–to be brought back to life–and meets it. We need eyes to see the same way, to look through all the crap to the heart that needs so desperately to be rescued.
3. Ask for humility. Our human tendency is bent toward pride. And when we follow it, we wind up like the Pharisee who thanked God he wasn’t like the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). We become so caught up in our own self-righteousness that we don’t have a drop of grace to spare for others. Instead we need to be like the tax collector who acknowledged both his sin and God’s grace. When we’re humble enough to admit we’re only saved by grace, we are free to share that same grace radically with others.