Social media tells us a lot. Mostly a lot about ourselves.
In the last few days I’ve tweeted about how people who moderately consume carbs live, on average, 4 years longer than people who are low carb. God bless pasta!
I also did a series of tweets on the counter-cultural value of grace. That God chooses to look away from our sin and gives us love and mercy that isn’t earned. It’s called grace and it’s amazing.
The pasta tweet had more likes and retweets than the cumulative total of 12 tweets on grace. What does that say? It could mean that grace is less pithy than pasta. It could mean that the spiritual truth of grace is less understood than our physical love of pasta. Or, it could mean that we have a greater appetite for pasta than we do grace.
I’m going to resist coming to absolute conclusions based on a few tweets, but my experience tells me that we are either increasingly ignorant of or even hostile toward grace.
We don’t want grace for fallen clergy. We don’t want grace for people on the other side of the aisle. We don’t want grace for those who have hurt us. And we definitely don’t want grace for people in the NFL front office. But we do want, hope, and yearn for grace for ourselves. In fact, we expect it.
In modern America we conveniently overlook our shortcomings while being outraged by others.
We demand that everyone resign for any mistake they’ve made in the their lifetime. In ancient Israel after a woman was caught in adultery, a self-righteous crowd was ready to stone her. Jesus broke the mob up by saying, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” He still says to all of us “the one who is qualified to hurt or devalue the wayward is the one who is never walking away from the ways of God.” That would be…none of us.
Are we banking on God to look the other way when we have one drink too many? Or when we look at porn? How about when we gossip and hurt the reputation of someone else? All of the above I’ve done more recently than I care to admit.
How about I keep going…or when we refuse to tithe; follow through on a commitment we have made to pray for someone; or can’t remember the last time we verbally shared the truth of Jesus with an unbeliever. Maybe we aren’t willing to share grace on our social channels because we aren’t that impressed with the character of God.
Our culture is increasingly unwilling or unable to turn the other cheek.
We can’t fathom living with or near someone who has made mistakes or has issues. In America the only acceptable apology is a resignation. And then after that, damn the person or institution that gives the offender a job. God gets over our mistakes and so should we with our fellow human beings.
Yes, we have all fallen guilty of something and probably many things in habitual ways. And yet, God loves you. He forgives you. He accommodates your rebellion. He even chooses to allow blessings to come your way. This is grace. Wow! I can not consistently do for you what God does for me. He is a patient and forbearing God. I want to be more like Him.
Jesus says “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Our flesh longs for pasta and then eats pasta. Our spirit likes the idea of grace but seems to be too weak to follow through in applying it. In our judgmental world, we just can’t find the energy to offer a healthy bowl of grace.
God leaves room for real world consequences for our actions, and a president, priest, or pastor isn’t above appropriate justice. Absolutely, there are actions that require apologies, actions that require termination, and actions that require prosecution. But everyone can get in on the greatest cosmic deal going: The love and grace of God. This includes immoral presidents (we’ve had many in our history). Sexually deviant priests and other clergy who lack integrity (whether in a mega or house church). It also includes people in the real world with regular jobs who have an average heart with average choices, that leads to a life that isn’t any different from the life of an atheist.
To grace I say “Yum! I’ll have another plateful, please.” Go ahead. I dare you to like or share that.