John 1:16 "Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given." (NIV)
As Christians, we stand in a unique place. It is an undeserved place that all believers get to stand in. It is a place of unexpected freedom and great relief. It is the place of grace.
When we are bowed down under the weight of guilt and shame, expecting punishment but instead, we receive mercy, it is cause for great celebration and joy!
The world, those without the saving knowledge of Christ, has not experienced first-hand the grace of God, so how could they possibly understand the gift that is grace and how could they possibly comprehend how to extend grace.
We see it all the time, when a public figure messes up, there is an immediate outcry to punish, banish, and destroy the offending person. There is no grace and most of the time, there is no "innocent until proven guilty".
I think of the current situation with the Duggar Family. In case you are unaware, the Duggar Family, (i.e. the reality show "19 Kids and Counting"), who believes in courting instead of dating, side hugs instead of kissing, modesty over bared skin, family Bible-reading, home-schooling, and church-going has been pulled by the TLC Network as advertisers are pulling the plug of their connections to this show. Allegations surfaced last week that their oldest son, now married with 3, going on 4 children, when he was an underage teen, he was charged with groping 5 underage girls. The allegations submit that all children involved received therapy but charges were covered up by the adults involved.
I am not saying that this kind of behavior is ok. No. It is NOT okay. But what I find interesting is that as gay rights groups are shouting "hypocrisy!", there has become a public lynch mob of sorts on social media, with Christians included. But shouldn't Christians, those who have been redeemed, those who have received grace, be very careful about their public response to these kinds of things.
After all, Romans 3:23-24 teaches, "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (NIV)
We stand in the place of grace. We have been generously spared. We received grace freely! Grace must come from grace. Our response must be love, or the world won't see any difference between us and them. The one person who stood up for the Duggar Family first was Gov. Mike Huckabee. In a statement on CNN, he said that "good people make mistakes... Josh Duggar had redeemed himself by living a responsible and circumspect life as an adult."
Passing judgement on people we don't personally know is one thing, but what about people we do know? When a person stumbles and falls, will we be first to point fingers and heap on shame or will we remember the response of Jesus in situations like this? When the Pharisees were ready to stone the woman caught in adultery, He was the only one who stood up for her. He said, "He who is without sin, throw the first stone." Then He stretched out His hand and helped her into that place of grace as He said, "Go and sin no more." (John 8:7-11)
As human beings, it may be natural to think, "I don't want to associate with that sin, I don't want to get any of that on me". But instead of looking at our own position, what can we do to help that person get to that place of grace?
John 13:35 reminds us, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." (NLT)
What does your response prove to the world?
Life is tricky, but love is always the answer. If we want people to be redeemed and restored to wholeness, they must be able to stand in the place of grace, and only love will get them there.
What are your thoughts?