1. I’m scared of grace because it’s not abstract.
I can handle abstract ideas. Up there in the ether of my imagination, I’m not afraid of theological ideas. Grace, unlike abstract theology, changes things. It disorients my daily experience with myself and God and others. It blows up more than just my theological categories.
2. I’m scared of grace because it’s not what I thought it was.
I thought it was another word for, you know, Jesus. I thought grace was one of many verses in a Hillsong album. A good verse, but just a verse. Grace is unpredictable, though. It’s more than any of us ever imagined the first time we heard the word.
3. I’m scared of grace because it’s too damn practical.
It works too well. Loving people before they have proven their worthiness actually makes relationships better. Grace in practice is the only method of wrestling control out of our hands and setting us free. It’s profoundly practical. Just write the word on your hand for a day and think about it when you talk to people. It’s hard to believe how much lighter life feels when grace is on the tip of our tongues.
4. I’m scared of grace because it’s too explanatory.
The explanatory power of grace is overwhelming. It’s scary accurate. Sometimes I want to be baffled and confused about why things aren’t going well relationally. Now all that I see is where grace was abandoned in my broken relationships and the subsequent gap that was filled with scrutinizing and self-justification. I don’t really want to be privy to that information.
5. I’m scared of grace because it’s free.
I am a capable individual. I don’t want to get a gift that I can never, ever, ever, pay back. It offends me. The magnitude of total forgiveness for a lifetime of regrets and bad decisions (and a future that could be as bad or worse) is too much to accept willingly. Free is offensive. I prefer expensive, I’ll settle for cheap, but free offends me.
Grace is what stands on the other side of the cross. Grace is the definition of our relationship with God. It’s how Christ himself relates to us: in/with/through grace. In the midst of all the transactional law that rings in our ears (do this and this to become lovely), listen closely for God’s promise in Christ that is for you: You are loved more than you can ever imagine.