In Need of Grace


I have been concerned about a spirit of intolerance in our country.  I’m aware of the political differences and the impatience of even listening to a thought that may be different than your own.  I’m aware there is a movement to restrict our free speech by attaching labels (racist, misogynist, xenophobic, etc.)  to someone in order to try to silence a discussion.

With this spirit of intolerance, I sense an air of superiority from those who don’t want to hear your point.  If you disagree, you are considered ignorant, unworthy of consideration, and therefore, sub-human.  You become an enemy and should be destroyed.

I see this intolerance as detrimental to individuals and to society as a whole.  I see a coming generation of people incapable of reasoning, of mental strength, of moral strength, and emotional strength.  It’s been said “the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.”  Meaning that opposition and storms cause the tree roots to grow deeper.   Our minds are like that.  We need to be mentally challenged.

“17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,” Eph. 3:17-18 NASB

What will become of us if we only allow some to think for us?  What will become of us if only some are allowed to control all of our activities?  That is not how God has created us.  He has created us to be able to think for ourselves and to help others.  We should not lose those things.

This intolerance as extended to not having or giving a thought to our history.  Statues are being removed or destroyed because most people don’t know anything beyond the year they were born, let alone why a statue was made.  I’m not saying these people were perfect.  They made mistakes, they had wrong motives, and they were, like we are, sinners.

In light of the fact that we have history to look back on, is it right to disregard their knowledge base, and solely base our thoughts and reactions on the way we currently are thinking?   Can we not use things like that as a teaching tool?

When I was going to college, I had a humanities class that I found very interesting.  I also found my history classes very interesting.  I tried to understand why people did the things they did and why they would even repeat errors that others have made.  Will humanities and history even be taught in school in a few years?

For the last month or so, the news headlines have been about sexual harassment, rape, intimidation, exedra.   Let me be clear, those things are wrong and if/when laws were broken, the offending person should be trialed and punished.  Here’s my point.  The act has always been wrong.  Society is now, no longer tolerating what past societies tolerated.   Again, harming someone has always been wrong, but the way society thinks  on those things changes.  I wonder if fifty years from now, today’s standards will still be a standard.

The Bible is amazing as it tells about history and how mankind has always be imperfect and has missed the bullseye of perfection.  The Bible does not sugar-coat or overlook the failures of the many people God has used.

Let me introduce you to Saul of Tarsus.  He was a Pharisee and highly regarded as a top ranking Jew.  He had a pedigree and all the credentials.  He would have appeared to be the ideal Jew.  But as he was seeking Christians to persecute or kill, the Lord stopped him on the Damascus Road.  You may have heard about it.  From that encounter with the Lord, Saul’s name was changed to Paul.  His mission and purpose changed and he wrote most of the New Testament.  We know him as the Apostle Paul.  Here is Paul’s testimony:

 

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.  1 Timothy 1:12-17 NKJV

Paul said that he obtained mercy and grace from the Lord.  He could not change his past, but God changed his future.  Paul didn’t forget his past.  He identified himself as the chief sinner.  He needed God’s grace, even after his conversion.

I am convinced our society will not be changed by the government.  I am convinced our society will be changed only by how we treat other people.  One on one.  We can disagree with someone without wanting to harm them.  Are we willing to extend mercy and grace to those we come in contact with?  I’ve written on this before and I’m still asking.  Will we be patient with those who may not have the life experience we have?  Will we be a light on the hillside to those still in the darkness?  Will we be an ambassador for Christ, showing them how He has changed us and speaking /reacting as Jesus would?

We have all been ignorant about some thing at some time.  We only have any understanding at all, because the Lord has worked in our own lives.

We are all in need of God’s grace.  Are you willing to share yours with your fellow man?

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