If you are anything like me, there are times in my life when I sit and wonder, “Why does God put up with me?” I mean if I were God (I don’t want that job, so don’t think I am going there!)… I would be pretty frustrated. I feel like I get stuck on the same sins and that I tend to do more harm than good sometimes. So if you feel as if you are on a hamster wheel of terror, have no fear! I am going to share with you what I have learned about God’s grace.
Lets say that you own a house and occasionally allow people to stay with you. That, or lets say you have one of those houses where people are constantly coming in and out. What you learn quickly is that people break stuff, dirty the carpet, and eat your favorite snacks whether you like it or not. With that in mind, the guests react in a few different ways during these circumstances.
1. There is the individual who is inconveniencing you but really not trying to do that. They may stumble around and break something, or track in mud when they come in the house, but they are usually very apologetic and usually want to repay you or fix the problem. There will always be consequences for actions, but it is easier to handle them because you know that this person did not set out to do it.
2. Then there is the type of individual who knows that you are going to be gracious, and then proceeds to be careless because, “They will forgive you.” These individuals tend to be very presumptuous and self-centered. The problem here is that they have cheapened your generosity into a presumption. In the same vein, they have dumbed down Jesus’ death and sacrifice into a “get out of jail free card” and truly miss the point. Jesus died to save people, not let those who follow him do whatever they please without consequence.
3. The third type is the type that stays in their room and does not interact with you for fear of doing something wrong. These people are like ghosts and they never really form a relationship with you because of their fear. In the same way, they never really have a relationship with Jesus and do not understand that he is not a cruel perfectionist and that he gives grace.
When God looks at our hearts, he looks for those who want to seek after him and are trying not to make a bigger mess. They generally understand that they have received grace, and because of that they do not want to abuse that grace. So if you are in that category, than you have nothing to be concerned about! Most Christians are and I am sure you are, but hopefully this illustration can help you see this topic in a new light. Especially because there are heresies going around that cheapen the blood of Jesus, and we must be able to dialogue with those people!
So if you are the type that is beating yourself up over failing to meet what you perceive as Gods standards, just remember that God knows your heart. Yes, you might break a few things here and there or get frustrated, but if you are remorseful and try to improve, he sees that and honors your effort. He also loves you and it saddens him at times when you make mistakes or the sins of others impact your life, so please don’t think that he is ready to smite you for a mistake!
He knows that working out your salvation can take a lifetime, so he knows that we are prone to making mistakes through out our lifetime. Just as we are called to be patient and forgive with others in those circumstances, he too is patient and forgiving with us (Mark 11:25 & 26). So lets begin to grasp hold of that reality while living honorably for a loving and patient God.