Somewhere along the way I think I completely missed the concept of grace. I don’t know if the church I was raised it completely forgot about it, or if it just never sunk in. We’d always sing “Amazing Grace / How sweet the sound / That saved a wretch like me,” but I don’t think I ever understood what that meant.
Grace is unconditional. Grace is total and complete. Grace has amnesia. Grace means there’s nothing you can do to be loved less, and nothing you can do to be loved more. Grace is actually unfair. Grace means forgiving when it’s easy, and when it’s hard. Grace means loving when it’s easy and when it’s hard. Grace is what makes Christianity so unique, and that’s why I’m so dumbfounded that I never understood this before.
Since grace is the basis of Christianity, it should also be the base of my life. It should be the base of my friendships. It should be the base of my marriage. It should be the base of my family. That is so hard to do. That’s why marriages fail, because people don’t have any grace. Grace means letting go and forgiving. That means I can’t keep score. I can’t count the number of back rubs I’ve given versus the number I’ve gotten, or count the number of hours I spend doing chores verses the number of hours my wife spends doing chores. That’s not love, and that’s not grace. That may be just and fair, but it’s not loving and gracious.
Grace means cleaning up the kitchen regardless of who cooked, regardless of who did it last time, regardless of how many plates and dishes and pots and crusty silverware there are. Grace means doing the laundry because it needs to be done, not to earn brownie points. Maybe I’m stretching my definitions here, but I’m beginning to understand what it means to love my wife like Christ loves the church. Like the prodigal son, like the woman who lost her coin. That kind of love is so contrary to what we want to do. We want to point fingers and keep score and declare who hurt who and when and use that as some sort of mirage to avoid dealing with the hurt and pain. Forgiveness is really crazy if you think about it. It seems to make sense when we’re talking about sibling rivalry. But what about Hitler? Would you forgive Hitler? Jesus Christ would. That’s so insane to us, but that’s the way God works.
And he commands the same of us. If God can forgive Hitler, if God can forgive me, then shouldn’t I be able to forgive anything as well? Even something as stupid as leaving dishes on the coffee table? When everyone else is busy looking out for number one, God tells us to look out for everyone but number one. Imagine a world if Christians actually did that.