In my Bible course we read the book of Philemon and spent a week studying it. We picked apart every little part of it and I was so astounded that so much could be found in only 25 verses. For one assignment, we had to pick out a timeless truth (something that the book teaches on that was true to the original readers and is still true today) and we had to take a sphere of society and write about how this truth could affect this sphere. I picked God’s grace and the church.
Truth: The LORD is gracious.
God is gracious. This is such a monumental truth and one that is so key to the Christian faith. God is gracious. What the heck is graciousness? Being gracious is to have mercy and compassion. God is the perfect example of grace. People are so undeserving of the love that God gives us, but, despite this, he lavishes his unrelenting love on us.
What would happen if all the people in a church had a deep revelation of this truth? Would it make a difference? I would sure hope so.
Churches today have this great stereotype of judgement and being unwelcoming. Most non-Christians, or plenty of Christians even, hear the word church and go running. Church has become a place to flaunt your perfect life, even if that perfection is a grand façade. What God intended to be a community in which people could lean on one another and be open and vulnerable has become this great show called “Who Is the Holiest?!” But what if we tried to comprehend even a portion of God’s grace with us? Would the people in this theater called church take off their masks and be a little more real with one another? I think so.
If we accepted God’s grace and took a position of fighting for that grace and wanting to express it, we would see a massive change in the functionality of church. Instead of having to have it all together, people would realize that it’s ok to be broken. There is grace for our brokenness. People would be ok with being wrong and they would admit their fault. There is grace for our mistakes. People would be able to look past other’s pasts. There is grace for what happened before. People would accept one another, despite who they are or where they’ve come from. There is grace for our differences.
Through a revelation of God’s grace, we could have more love, life, joy, equality, forgiveness, peace, and so much more. If we asked God to show us how gracious he has been with us, as individuals, we would be astounded at how he has looked over all our mistakes and has loved us through all the wrong we have done.
If God can love even the wicked, how can we refuse love to our brothers and sister in the church? Why is it that the church has this stigma of false people and fake stories?
We lack grace. If we had grace, our churches wouldn’t be emptying. We wouldn’t be a people of separation and segregation. With grace we could be united. Churches could come together. People would flock to a church that walks out in graciousness.
We are to be like Christ. Humble, servant-hearted, kind, loving, and gracious.