Saturday, February 23, 2013

Like a Freaking Ballerina

Photo credit: Creative Commons

I don't get it. It escapes me, really. In fact, if I think about it too long I get downright angry. It brings out my edges... Sharp edges. Makes me want to say all those words us nice Christian girls aren't even supposed to know.

I abhor injustice. I know - I can hear the, "Well, DUH!" I think most of us, deep within, no matter what we let out, think it sucks. When someone gets the short end, time after time and those sticking it to them just skate on like nothing happened - That kind of thing infuriates me. Oh buddy! And let me be on the receiving end? It ain't purty!

But there are actual, for-real, live human beings out there that don't seem to get all bent out of shape over injustice. I don't mean that they don't feel disgusted by it, or that they are milk-toast wimps about it. Just that it doesn't send them into a tirade. They take it in stride. They might smile or chuckle or just walk away, but it leaves them and doesn't stir their guts into a tumultuous wad of tangles.

I have asked, you know? I have asked how it is they can stand by and let someone treat them horribly without even saying so much as one word. Do you know what they said? Grace.

Grace.

Us humans, we are crappy individuals. We aren't that way all of the time, but it is in our nature to be self-serving, judgmental, mean and self-riteous. Doing nasty things to each other is part of the gig of a fallen world. But what God teaches, through His Son, is that no matter what gets done to me or mine, my actions are to be ones of grace. Before I start huffing about how unfair that is I am reminded it is exactly what has been given to me. In Golgotha I got a very concise, clear, unwavering gift of grace hung on a cross. I couldn't miss it if I tried.

Grace.

The simplest definition of grace I can muster is "unmerited favor." It does it the most justice in the simplest terms I can understand. Unmerited = undeserved. Favor = good will. Undeserved good will. Undeserved. Hmmmm... Means nothing in my actions say I should be allowed good will. Means I can't earn it. Means no one can. It means that God loves without condition - for reals, not like me. I don't have the ability to truly unconditionally love anyone or anything. Only God does. And He did. Even when I hated Him.

Let's be very clear here: Grace when I am feeing all fuzzy and charitable is worthless. Grace when I am hurt is hard. To truly have worth, grace has to cost something. Without darkness, light loses all meaning. Without pain, pleasure has no context. Without injustice, grace is empty. Grace is a gift unearned, given without hope of reciprocation. Where justice would be deserved, grace releases its grasp and hands the offender a get out of jail free card.

There is one last thing about grace: Grace is quiet. It is why it is so hard for me to comprehend. Grace is something that doesn't look for recognition. When grace is truly undeserved good will it isn't spoken about or lauded by the giver. Grace is like an anonymous gift - I am not supposed to lay claim to it, boast about it, point out the good thing I did... If I do, it isn't grace. Grace is the great release of all expectations and for me, one of the hardest things on earth to do.

Grace isn't fair. It seems like grace lets the bad guys win and that goes against the grain. I want things to be fair, good gets rewarded, evil gets punished - the hero wins, you know? But then I think deeper; do I really want fair? Turning that table around, would I want fair or grace on my plate? None of us are the good guys all the time. Sometimes we are the villain. Well then... Hmm. Yeah. Makes me rethink my reactions. Now. In this moment when it doesn't cost me anything, grace seems like a great idea. Putting it into practice? Well... I guess I will just have to continue to hold my tongue and pray that when God gives me the opportunity to free someone with the grace card I will be up to the task.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves; it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. (Eph 2:8)
Be blessed.