Why do we praise people who have a checkered past, but judge those with a checkered present?

Let’s be honest. Most of the time, IMs are for impromptu movie references and swapping LOLs.

But, every once in a while, you actually have a deep, useful instant message exchange that gives you an idea or helps you see something in a new way. I had one of those conversations with two friends this week….

We started out poking a little fun at the typical “inspirational women’s ministry speaker.” We ended up with a sad and true observation about how we all love inspiring stories of grace…as long as they’re not in the present tense.

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Posted by Wildman

Husband. Dad. Pastor. I like to capture moments, pull their threads, and see what unravels. Lead well, read well, think well. And grace. Lots of grace.

3 Comments

  1. “I have overcome” stories make us feel good. There’s a time and a place for that, but really, I’d rather know I’m not alone in my struggle to live the life I’m meant to lead, instead of feeling like everyone else has achieved it (and on top of that they have a best selling book? How is THAT fair???)

    In real life, with people you know, present tense grace is hard. It seems like seventy times seven can open you up to being hurt over and over, and really, who wants that? I can extend grace to someone who is struggling, but where do you draw the line between “I’m struggling with something” and “I’m choosing to live in sin”? And is it really your job to make that call about someone else? And even if you do make that call, how does that impact the way you treat that person? Or should it even?

    It’s ever so much easier for me to “love the sinner and hate the sin” than it is for me to do the same for a saint who (IMHO) should really know better. Maybe this is exactly why present tense grace is so difficult to come by: no one knows what it’s supposed to look like!

    Can you tell I’m dealing with someone that’s making habitually sinful choices and I’m trying to figure out where to draw the line between grace and consequences, love and tough love, and accepting the person while rejecting their sinful lifestyle? Thanks for the post, it was timely and thought provoking for me.

    Reply

    1. Oh man! I haven’t replied here yet because I don’t really know what to say! You put your finger on the tension point — that fine line between “struggling with sin” and “shacking up with sin.” And, how do you be a good friend to someone while encouraging them and being honest with them at the same time?

      God is so good at present tense grace! He loves us enough to accept us even though we’re imperfect. And he also loves us enough to present opportunities for growth. It’s the perfect balance between acceptance and correction. SO challenging to imitate! Especially when we can only see someone’s heart through the blurry lens of their actions.

      I guess, at the end of the day, God’s goal isn’t to tear us down but to help us grow to look like Christ. When I’m approaching people with that kind of attitude, I’m on the right track. Easier said than done!

      Also, sorry for being a bad friend who didn’t visit when I was out there! 😦 I’m coming back to AZ in May for a graduation… Let’s visit then, no matter what!

      Reply

  2. Hmmmm….. and apparently I didn’t subscribe for follow up comments! 🙂 I miss these smart people conversations with you, so yes please, be a good friend in May and we can early celebrate Flag Day and the First Day of Summer. 🙂

    Reply

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