Saturday, June 16, 2012

Giving grace is hard

I am currently taking on the role of helping with some of the youth group teaching at our church, and of course I bit off a big controversial topic to start with -- evolution, the age of the earth, and evangelism.

One of the major points of discussion so far has been the willingness to give grace to those who agree with the same biblical facts that you do, but disagree with the interpretations.

This of course is a struggle for all of us, even later in life. But as I watch these youth (who, I must admit, have spiritual maturity far exceeding my expectations) I am taken back to my youth and remember how hard it is to comprehend that other views than our own may be valid -- and that the truth may be something none of us have ever even guessed at. The kids are doing great with it--far better than I did at their ages--but it is still a big struggle for them. Giving grace is not the American way, after all. Our method of interacting is to make up our minds (political, theological, academic, etc) and stick with it all our lives. Politicians are blasted for "inconsistency" or "flip flopping" if they struggled with difficult topics over the years and changed positions.

And yet ironically, the more that I have grown as a Christian, I have managed to become both more firm in my convictions about the truth of Scripture while simultaneously becoming more accepting of those with whom I disagree. It is just something that age, or God's spirit, or the combination of the two have done in me, I suppose. The more I learn about God, the less I wish to keep Him bottled up inside the small mental box that accounts for my version of systematic theology. The more I experience of Him, the more I realize just how much mystery there truly is in our faith.

But that I think is a result of God's spirit, and is not a natural tendency for us. I think that is why giving grace is so hard for us. We take the facts that He gives us in the Bible, and the way that it looks to us seems so obvious and sensible that if someone disagrees with our worldview, we assume he or she is attacking the very Biblical authority itself.

Giving grace is hard. It isn't natural--literally. It is supernatural, and only comes from the grace that God has given us. God, I pray that You will always make it clear to me where to draw the line, and where to give grace. Make it about You, not me.


  1. We are having great discussions around our dinner table b/c of your teaching! I so appreciate your involvement with the youth!!

  2. Sara, thanks! It has been fun, and Grace has some incredibly gifted kids in it. I really appreciate Jared and Jason during this series, who have been both quite intelligent and very giving of grace to those who disagree. This week we get into the real fun...hate that Jared will miss it!