Grace, do we understand it?
The very beginning of the book ‘What’s so amazing about Grace’ starts with this true story.
A prostitute came to me in wretched straits, homeless, sick, unable to buy food for her two-year-old-daughter. Through sobs and tears, she told me she had been renting out her daughter – two years old! – to men interested in kinky sex. She made more renting out her daughter for an hour than she could earn on her own in a night. She had to do it, she said, to support her own drug habit. I could hardly bear hearing her sordid story. For one thing, it made me legally liable – I’m required to report cases of child abuse. I had no idea what to say to this woman.
At last I asked if she had ever thought of going to a church for help. I will never forget the look of pure, naïve shock that crossed her face. “Church!” she cried. “Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They’d just make me feel worse.”
In the Bible, woman like this prostitute ran to Jesus for help. They saw Him as refuge. Have we as a Church lost that gift? Evidently, those who flocked to Jesus when He was on earth no longer feel welcome amongst His followers.
I wonder if you have experienced this at school or university. Hopefully, not this story, but stories where you or your friends have felt unable to go to church for help. It makes you feel worse and fills you with shame and guilt. I know I certainly have!
Please know this, I have done things in my life that I have been so ashamed of. The knowledge of what I have done filled me with shame and guilt. So much so that for many years I never told a soul, that included my closest friends and family. I believed they would reject me and make me feel worse if I told them.
Now, after sharing it with my closest friends, I have begun to understand God’s Grace like never before. It is the very centre of my faith. The apostle Paul wrote this in his first letter to Timothy.
1 Timothy 1:15 – ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst’
I now live in total freedom. Yes, I still muck up, but it is no longer my problem to bear. Jesus has done that for me. I have to come back in repentance to the foot of the Cross and praise Jesus. He hangs there carrying my sin. I will never stop praising Him and thanking Him for that!
I know I have only scratched the surface of grace in this blog. But please get in touch if what I have said resonates with you. I can only look at you with love, for that is the only way that my Father in heaven looks at me.