Radical Grace

June 3, 2010


If you come to this site very much, you know I have several different blogs I read on a regular basis.  I have a new one to add the list.  It’s called People of the Second Chance, written by Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite.  The description says “Radical Grace in Life and Leadership”.  Radical grace, I like that.  Since I have a definition fetish, I looked up “radical” and it’s one of those words with multiple meanings.  And, more than one definition works here.  For instance, radical can mean “of or going to the root or origin; fundamental” (all of these come from Dictionary.com, btw), “thoroughgoing or extreme, esp. as regards change from accepted or traditional forms” or “favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms”.  I like the idea of social reform almost as much as I like an extreme change from the traditional forms.  I mean, let’s face it, we need some social reform and in this instance, tradition isn’t standing us in good stead.  Because society and tradition fly in the face of what Jesus taught us about forgiveness.  I’m talking about that 70 times 7 thing.    We don’t get mad, we get even; or, we don’t get even, we get ahead.

The post that inspired this one is entitled “I AM THE PERPETRATOR“.  I’ve always looked at grace from a receivers standpoint, grateful for everything I’ve been given because I don’t deserve any of it.  What I suck at is extending even the tiniest portion of that grace to anyone else.  Entirely to easily, I fall into the trap of revenge, or judgment, or (this is the worst) holding others to standard I’ll never attain.  One place this manifests is in my reaction to homeless people.  I’ve been a firefighter for 20 years and I’m all to familiar with the homeless population of Raleigh.  Or so, I thought, anyway.  What I was familiar with was the way they interfered with my day, my sleep and my stress level.  In short, it was all about me.  Even the ones I knew by name, I didn’t really see as people.  I’m trying to change that.  With varying degrees of success, though.

One of the other ways I drop the ball with others is through arrogance.  I actually have the temerity to think that people I don’t even know are doing things just to piss me off.  Amazing, huh?  Oh, right now, in the cold light of day, I know that’s ridiculous.  But, in the heat of the moment, it certainly seems that other driver cut me off in traffic and is giggling about it the whole time.  And, I’m arrogant about other’s arrogance.  There’s a lot of talk about absolute truth and relativism and all that stuff.  I believe that God revealed His truth.  I just wonder who has that truth.  Because there’s a bunch of different groups out there and they all claim to have it.  Until recently, I kinda  looked down on those folks.  No, not kinda, really looked down on them.  Of course, I knew that I was right and they were wrong.  I’m trying to do better about that, too.  Why am I telling you all this?  Because I’m just as broken and fallen and lost as all those people I’ve spent the last almost 50 years looking down on.  And, if I can get a another shot at it, why can’t they?

Radical grace and second chances.  That sounds good until you realize that it’s not just the people you like, or the ones you’re comfortable around or even the ones that agree with you that get second chances.  Everyone does.  Everyone, from the lowest addict on the street to the President (which ever one you don’t like) to the preacher caught in a very public scandal.  Everyone, no matter how repulsive you find them or their actions.  Everyone, because you got a second chance, they get one too.  When we get that, we can start to become what Mike Foster calls the People of the Second Chance.

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