There were but a finite number of drops of blood in the body of Jesus, yet they cover an infinite amount of sins, and cleanse an unfathomable number of people who accept that grace. His selfless offering of himself for us should serve to remind us to grant some grace of our own to others. Here is a theological fact, a sacred truth testified to in Scripture: people need a lot of grace. And not just from God Almighty, we need grace from one another. Granting grace is about embodying Christ for another. It is to lay aside our desire for vengeance, even if it is only in the form of humiliation, and offer space for the movement towards righteousness. In a country obsessed with accountability in the form of public pressure and embarrassment to motivate, Christ calls us to let some things remain unspoken and make second (or more!) chances our norm. If God responded to us the way we respond to each other, no one would seek to deepen their relationship with our Lord, because the bitterness of humiliation and shaming taints our desire to be in relationship with the one who has perpetuated it upon us. Jesus could have exposed countless people during his ministry, but he chose to preserve their dignity and offer them unrestrained grace instead.
What is to be gained by causing another to feel shame within the family of faith? We know when we are not doing what is right. I am not talking about people in denial over the majorly destructive sins, but people who slip up every now and then. The people who get overwhelmed and overextended, so that something falls through because of it. Those who are dealing with pressures and struggles not fully known to others. Do we grant them grace, or simply expect everyone to have it all together all the time? We all struggle, and while we can belittle the struggles of others as insignificant, like sin, it can feel just as overwhelming and detrimental to them and as ours does to us. So the time for grace has come, or better put, the time for anything but grace is past. We are all imperfect. We are all working out our salvation through mistakes and lessons learned. We do not have to point out every mistake, but instead encourage people to hold fast and persevere. I know there have been times when I could use some grace from others. How do you ask for it? Should I have to? I try to remember that, keep it in the forefront of my thought when I feel the need to draw attention to something. It’s not that I don’t want people to grow, but I am not willing to sacrifice grace in the process.
Grace is who we are as Methodists, United or otherwise. We are the people of a Great God of Grace, and we are those who should live out that state of grace by bestowing it upon others without their having to ask, much less beg. We should embody the one who cleanses us with his grace filled blood. Christ showered us with the only cleansing agent that could break the power of sin in and over us. We emerge from his sacrifice almost two thousand years later, clean and clear to live out our salvation. So let us be quick to restrain, refrain from pointing out every flaw, and instead love people through the rough patches, the veers off the road, so that grace can bring them home.