At the end of our interview last night, I asked Peter Herschend, former Chairman of our Catch Ministry Board of Directors and guest on last night’s BlogTalkRadio show, to tell us what Grace Turned Outward meant to him. I knew he would have a thoughtful answer because he was instrumental in deciding on Grace Turned Outward as our primary emphasis. “Grace Turned Outward is exactly what we are called to do by our Lord,” he said, “because the reverse, grace kept inward, is invisible — it can’t be seen, tasted, touched — the senses of the body can’t reach it. But grace turned outward is ‘sensual’; it can be heard, it can be seen, it can be tasted, it can be felt. Not sensing anything from you, the point is lost.”
Think about it. Grace turned Jesus outward. He touched lepers, He placed his hands on the eyes of the blind, He gathered children in His arms, He lifted the crippled to their feet, He washed his disciples’ feet. Grace took Jesus outside Himself and into the lives of those around Him. It does the same thing to us.
Grace opens you up. If it doesn’t, you haven’t truly received it, because grace is by nature, outward. Grace turns you towards others.
This is in direct contrast to our culture. Everything in our culture related to personal growth is focused inward on the self. Fitness, wellness, mental health, nutrition, staying young — think of the huge amount of money spent regularly on these efforts. We even have a name for it — self-help. There’s probably a self-help section in your local Christian bookstore, because spirituality is often thought of in the same terms. We’ve bought into the same cultural emphasis. We go to seminars, retreats and read books that promise spiritual growth. But the attention is in the wrong place. Like Peter Herschend said, keep grace inward and it becomes invisible.
But grace turned outward is true grace. It’s not just a new idea, it’s what grace is. If it hasn’t turned us outward, then it’s not grace.
How much of our lives are focused on others and how much on ourselves? It’s a good test as to whether we truly understand grace or not. Good news for me is good news for everybody.