God’s Scandalous Grace

Quote of the week: If grace is true, it is true for all of my students no matter how many times that they mess up, spit in my face, mock me, or resist my love for teaching and for their learning.

Not too many weeks ago, I finished a book called “If Grace Is True” by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland. In the book, the two authors defend with one voice why they believe that God sooner or later will save every person who has lived, is living, or ever will live on the planet. At first, the idea seemed absolutely absurd to me, and I prepared myself to defend my own view of salvation as well as find as many loopholes in their argument as I could. In the midst of my own criticality, I found a truth that stuck with me and inspired me for my two weeks of teaching by myself in early November. The quote above kept me going throughout those two weeks as I was reminded over and over about how scandalous God’s grace is and how scandalous our grace should be also as it overflows from the grace that God has given to us.

During my time in Lesotho, I have been trying to formulate a way of discipline that does not involve corporal punishment as it is the main reinforcement used throughout the schools in Southern Africa. In the midst of my search and creativity, I soon found within myself the thirst for justice that I also saw in my students. The ideas that ran through my head as I contemplated how I could teach some of my disrespectful students a lesson appalled me, for I quickly saw the darkness of my own heart. How easy it is to want and need and crave revenge in all of its forms, whether they be violent, manipulative, or coercive. On the contrary, I soon realized how difficult it is to extend grace to people who have hurt me. These moments in the classroom when my students would mock me or break even the simplest rules of the classroom showed me how much I want grace for my own life and justice for all of the other people in the room, students or teachers. I want God to parden me and let me follow him into eternity, but I’m not so sure that he should do the same for the other people that I see “sinning” and not repenting and not walking in the light and not praying enough or going to church enough.

This was an interesting point that the authors made in the book also. With our obsession with justice, we often don’t realize how selfish we are and how much we really don’t love people the way that God loves and accepts us. If you want a challenging outlook on the grace of God, try reading the book that I mentioned above. You may not agree with the authors, but hear them out and see how some of their ideas can help you more clearly understand who God is.

For a future post, here’s a question to mull over as I try and write a post about it: Did God really ever need a sacrifice to forgive our sins, or can he forgive us by merely saying that he does and forgetting all that we have done? He commands us to forgive others, so why should he not forgive similarly? Think about it and feel free to comment.

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~ by randallkoehler on November 28, 2011.

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