We all know those people. Their Facebook statuses read things like, “To God be the glory,” and “Scripture, Scripture, Scripture, Prayer Meme.” But, if you know them beyond their Facebook, or whatever other public image they project, you find their personal lives are a bit…well…lacking.
On the one hand, you want to call them a hypocrite. But, then on the other, what makes them so different from the rest of us? Fallible humans in need of grace.
Certainly I have my faults. I don’t always walk in the grace that I should, and at times, I can deliver a sharp tongued blow, leaving one of God’s creatures reeling in agony. Does that make me a hypocrite? I would like to say not. I would like to say it makes me a fallible human. But, theoretically, how does that make me different, than say the girl who is having an affair with her married co-worker, yet goes to church every week?
The Bible tells us that only the sick need a doctor, and my all-time favorite Christian songwriter Steve Taylor put it aptly by writing, “Jesus is for losers. I’m off about a hundred degrees.” We are only ready to accept Christ when we realize we are fallen, and there is nothing we can do about it.
So, if said woman, confused, and trapped in sin, holds to the Bible because her life leaves her empty, does that make her wrong? Of course not. It makes her the prime candidate for grace.
But, when does it become hypocrisy? When are we slaves entrapped by sin, thirsting for grace, and when are we just plain abusers of the cross?
And, how do we relate to such people? When do we say simply, “Jesus love you just the way you are.” Versus, when do we tack on the last clause, “But he loves you too much to let you stay that way.”
The messy politics of grace.