I’ve done some stuff.
Let’s just say that I love grace. I’ve been generously partaking of copious amounts of grace since my youth. As I was reflecting on this the other day, I thought it would be ‘fun’ to list some of my less-than stellar moments. Here we go:
Age 5: Broke into neighbor’s house while they were away and ate their food.
Age 5: Climbed neighbor’s TV antenna on top of their roof.
Age 5: Skipped out of swimming lessons and walked home over a mile in my swimsuit.
(Apparently 5 was a bad age for me).
Age 9: Kicked Connie in the shin during class.
Age 10: Punched Kim in the stomach on the first day of 5th grade for stealing my boyfriend.
Age 11: Sniffed glue.
Age 12: Dumped a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake out my youth leader’s car window, splattering it down the side of her vehicle.
Age 14: Ripped up my Spanish textbook in the school hallway, only to find the principal behind me.
Age 16: T.P.’d a LOT of houses.
Age 17: Mooned a LOT of people.
Age 18: Left my friend stranded at a McDonald’s while she was using the bathroom, forcing her to walk miles back to campus.
Age 19: Ate food off of a complete stranger’s plate (I had to – it was a dare).
Age 20: Emptied a two-story dorm in the middle of the night with a fire alarm (setting things on fire produces smoke).
Age 21: Unbolted and removed all the divider walls from the stalls in the women’s bathroom in our dorm.
I could go on (I’m afraid this is not a comprehensive list). When I think back on my stuff, I’m amazed that I turned out as well as I did. And I credit this miracle to three persons – God and my parents.
We all have stuff. Some of our stuff is fairly innocent and makes for good stories. But then there’s the stuff that I don’t want to share in a blog – the stuff only those closest to me know – the stuff that would keep me from ever running for President. That stuff. Is grace graceful enough to cover even those things?
It depends. From whom am I asking grace? I have found that there is a limit to the amount of grace people will extend. Because we’re human, and in our humanness our grace has limits.
Don’t believe me? Adolf Hitler. Jeffrey Dahmer. Adam Lanza. In my humanness, I cannot extend unlimited grace.
God’s grace, though, is a bit different. And it makes me uncomfortable.
It’s unfair, illogical, undeserved, unjust and all together scandalous. But his is the only grace that is without end. And that’s the kind of grace I needed – endless, uncomfortable grace.
I can extend unlimited grace – not because of grace itself, but because of the grace Giver. My human grace is insufficient, but I can give his grace abundantly. Because he gave it abundantly to me.
My story is entirely enveloped in the unmerited grace of God.
And so is yours.