Toward A Grace-Filled Faith
The other day I ran across some copies of the student newspaper from my seminary days. I'm inching closer to my twenty-year anniversary of that time in my life, so I decided to read the columns I wrote for it--just for old time's sake.
As I read what I had written back then, I found myself full of all kinds of mixed emotions. On the one hand, I was profoundly disappointed that some of the things I thought at the time had actually been printed and distributed.
I could clearly see how I'd embraced a grace-less kind of faith, and how I'd weaponized the Bible with my words. I also realized anew how those weaponized words must have felt to some of my fellow classmates. It made me sad and sorry to think about.
But I also felt some joy in the fact that I have since grown in my faith, and that I have learned to strive every day to take the swords I once created from out-of-context passages of Scripture and beat them into plowshares.
I was also enlivened with the knowledge that my love of the Bible and my desire to follow Jesus are deeper and more intense than ever before. And how I long to more fully embrace a grace-filled and open-handed faith.
Here's something I've learned over the years: Every time we try to decide on our own just how much grace God is capable of, we undoubtedly find ourselves on the wrong side of Jesus' teachings---and more often than not on the wrong side of history.
I recently read this amazing quote from theologian Walter Brueggeman from his excellent little book: A Gospel of Hope:
We cannot be for the missional gospel and then use our energy trying to control things on our own terms. We must decide and always decide again for the sake of the gospel. And when we decide for the goodness and generosity of God, we become a different kind of people in the world.
May you seek today to err on the side of grace in all of your interactions with the world around you. May you use your words to grow and give life. And may you find yourself drawing closer and closer to Christ as you do.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.