Being bad enough for Grace

Vancouver, B.C.

Vancouver, B.C.

Some of the best comments about the national mood in America so far have come from our northern neighbors in Canada. Perhaps that’s because a little distance can give you a certain perspective on things. As an example, Drew, from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, writes:

“Attitudes and sentiments didn’t just ‘happen.’ They’ve been around all this time, and the ‘social progress’ of the past half-century has, in fact, had little or no effect on the hearts of people [example: racism]. People change their behavior through their hearts, not through legislation, and I believe we’re seeing a whole lot of people who have been forced into silence for fear of being called any number of names, from ‘NIMBY’ to ‘uneducated’ to ‘deplorable.’”

And then Drew reminds us, “We have to remember that the ‘deplorables’ are worthy of Grace, too.”

Drew’s choice of words, though I know what he means, gives me an opportunity to make a point. To say anyone is “worthy of Grace” is a bit of an oxymoron to me. Of course we are all “worthy” of Grace since Grace is a free gift to all. But “worthy” implies “deserving” or “good enough” which, of course, we are not. It’s just a choice of words that makes it a little odd. Unless, if by “worthy” you mean “bad enough;” then you have nailed it! We are “worthy” of Grace if we are bad enough. Our sin is the qualifier.

In other words, “We have met the “deplorables,” and they are us!

Until I see myself as one of “those” deplorable people, I don’t really understand Grace; and if I don’t really understand Grace in that way, then I am not in a position to give it out to anyone else either. In truth, I am as bad as the worst of “them” by the simple fact that I know myself better than I know anyone else. If there’s someone worse than me out there, I would never know it, because I can’t possibly know anybody well enough to judge them, or assess their sin as compared to mine. I only know my own sin, and that’s bad enough. So after all, Drew, I am, in fact, “worthy” of Grace, because I am bad enough, and that is the good news, and why I am qualified as a proponent of Grace Turned Outward, because if Grace can cover me, the worst of sinners, then it can cover anyone.

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

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4 Responses to Being bad enough for Grace

  1. TimC in Oregon says:

    Do non-deplorables see themselves as being better than deplorables, as in: “Oh Lord, thank You that I am not like that deplorable person over there?”

  2. Tim says:

    I wrote this a few years ago and it popped up on Facebook the other day. This catch made me think of it. It kind of fits.

    My status asked, “what’s on your mind”.
    I’ll tell ya. Christmas cartoons. In particular the one about rudoff and the island of misfit toys.
    Most everyone feels like a misfit once in a while.
    I asked Emily once what she liked about being in our family. She said, “Knowing I belong there”. In other words, she fit in.
    Not everyone feels that way at Christmas, even when they’re coming home.
    I know I have friends that have family gone and some are estranged from their families as well. They could easily feel like a misfit.
    Now it would be easy to pretend like I’m not a misfit and I should reach out to all the misfits around me to save them or help them. To play the hero.
    Lets serve dinner and welcome all the misfits in our lives.
    The truth is we’re all the same. If I somehow think I’m set apart from others I will quickly become separate from others. Who’s the misfit then?
    If I / we have the courage to admit we are the same let’s open our eyes to those around us and invite them in. Thanksgiving, Christmas or how about just for the fun of it. Not because of what we have to offer them, but because of what we can offer each other.
    Admit it, you are a misfit. If you have the courage to admit that, you might have the courage to not judge someone else.
    And that’s what’s on my mind! 🙂

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