I’ve been wrestling lately with the idea of grace. More specifically, I’ve been wondering where justice fits inside of grace. Or does grace, perhaps, fit inside of justice?
My entire life, I have been taught the value of grace, and what it means, and where it comes from. The crux of Grace is the cross of Jesus, who bore the punishment of my sins in my stead. It shows up in my daily life as I remember my baptism, the waters that drowned my old sinful self and birth a new creation in Christ. As a lifetime Lutheran, I get grace — I really do.
What I’ve been struggling with lately is the idea that grace is not just for me.
Of course, I’m able to find grace for people in my life. When I’ve been wronged, I have looked beyond it — I have “forgiven those who have trespassed against me,” so to speak.
It’s not an easy task, not if its done fully and truly the way that God intended. Simple, but not easy.
Grace for the “other” isn’t a concept I’m unfamiliar with, or unpracticed in. It’s a practice in my closest relationships, nearly daily. I both give and receive grace in my marriage, friendships, and other relationships. It’s a beautiful thing, but this isn’t quite what I’ve been pondering lately.
What I want to know is how can I have grace for the people I good and truly hate.
When I was younger, I would stare at walls.
An empty white wall was non-distracting. It was a blank canvas, perfectly suited to play out whatever hair-brained idea or imaginative world I was concocting. I could sit there for 15 minutes, sometimes hours, flitting about in my own head. When I wasn’t staring into nothing, creating worlds in my head or contemplating what an eternity might actually be like, I was reading, or playing with legos, or composing music on any of the instruments I had decided to learn.
All in all, I had a pretty interesting life, in that I was able to create my own interest where I found it lacking.
And then I got Facebook.
Okay, it was more than that. It was satellite TV, it was the internet, it was a video game console.
Social media, however, may have the majority of the blame for the eventual obliteration of my childhood pastimes.
“I just haven’t found the time.”
Really? How is it that you've misplaced an abstract concept?
Oh, you mean there "aren't enough hours in the day," right?
Let’s be honest, we’ve all said something like this at least once. It slips off the tongue so easily. It seems like such an innocent comment, but have you ever really thought about what it means when we say it? What you’re really saying is that you are passive. That life happens to you, and not the other way around. In fact, I tend to use it all the time - it’s a great excuse that gets me out of actually accomplishing anything. That’s really why we're saying it, if we’re going to be honest with ourselves. It’s much harder to “find time” than it is to “make time” or “prioritize.”
You were going to write that story, but you just haven’t found the time to sit down.
You were going to do the dishes and pick up the house, but you haven’t had the time with your busy schedule.
You want to *insert your hobby here* more but you just don’t have enough time in the day.
You’ll help your friend move if you “manage to find some extra time” this weekend.
We expect time to be a gift. Something that we receive, through no activity on our part. And of course, it's a little true. You've done nothing to exist, you just happen to be existing. In this sense, time has been gifted to you. But you don't know how long that gift will last.
And if I'm honest, I've wasted the gift of time. I've "misplaced" it here (Netflix), "lost" it there (the Infinite Scroll™ of Twitter and Facebook), hoping to just come across a few extra minutes. Then, oh boy, could I accomplish some cool stuff. If I could just find some additional hours in my week, I would be unstoppable.
I've been spoon feeding my ego the same bullshit my entire life, excusing my inability to accomplish my goals by playing victim to Time.
I don’t want to write this. I’ve been avoiding writing this post for months now, because honestly I don’t really know what to say. I mean, I have a lot to say, but I feel like most of it has already been said and I don’t even know where to start.
Our country’s political scene is in shambles. But honestly, it’s a symptom of something greater. Something more sinister is brewing beneath politics, and we’re trying to put a band aid over a gushing wound instead of sewing it up and administering antibiotics. There is a massive divide between people of differing race, economic stature, and religion; a divide between nearly anyone that has differing opinions or lifestyles, or even just different ideas. For a country that is supposed to be a melting pot, a community open to all, a place where anyone can be free to say what they want and live how they want (barring the harm of others), we are doing a piss-poor job.
There is something sinister roaming freely through the hearts of people. It appears like a fog, simple and light at first; but soon it has enveloped everything that was once seen clearly, and worn away at the trust of anything other than “the self.” What was once visible and known, what was once truth, is now shrouded in uncertainty. This feeling has managed to turn brother against sister and mother against son. It has created enemies of friends, and has withered relationships. And it has been doing it for a very long time.