We’ve been forgiven, so we forgive.
We’ve been loved, so we love.
We’ve been freely accepted, so we accept others freely.
We’ve been given mercy, so we are merciful.
We have escaped judgment, so we do not judge.
We’ve been welcomed in, so we welcome all.
The door was opened for us, so we left it open to others.
We are different people from what we were;
We are Grace Turned Outward.
I first published this list in a Catch a little over a year ago. I am firmly of the belief that it needs to be a permanent document in our collection, kind of like “Declaration of a Marketplace Christian.” This is what makes us who we are. Sometimes it’s hard to define who we are because much of what we represent and talk about is the gospel of Jesus Christ that sounds pretty much like any other Christian group. But if you read and study this list and “Declaration …” you begin to see not-so-subtle differences. Separating the truth from a very popular but flawed cultural Christianity is not so easy. And it takes revisiting it again and again to renew our commitment as Christians in the world. I have to read “Declaration of a Marketplace Christian” over and over again because I forget so easily.
This is why we keep talking about the Gospel of Welcome — Grace Turned Outward. Most churches would say they represent a gospel of welcome, but grace turned outward is another thing. Grace turned outward is a defining line. Go over the list again. It really is a test. Think about each one. How are you doing?
This list a test of whether I have understood and received any of these things myself. For instance, if I can’t forgive, I am most likely not believing my own forgiveness. I am still trying to pay for my sins so I must make others pay too. If I can’t be merciful, I’m not believing God’s mercy towards me. If I can’t love, it’s a sure sign that I am not believing I am loved. I am not accepting God’s love for me; I am still trying to earn it.
It is, all in all, a truly humbling thing. We come to the Lord with nothing but our sin. We do what any man or woman does when face to face with the holiness of God — we fall on our face before Him. And what does He do? He forgives us, accepts us, loves us, shows us mercy, welcomes us, and doesn’t judge us. What can we do but receive these incredible gifts? And in receiving them, believe them. And through the Holy Spirit in us who teaches us all things, and empowers us to believe, we turn all these gifts outward to those around us. We become Grace Turned Outward.
Put this list where you can refer to it often. And while you’re at it, why not read “Declaration of a Marketplace Christian” again, too. Remember why we are who we are.