[This phrase popped into my head this morning while I was waiting for the kids to get out of school. What surprised me was the immediate negative feeling I had when contemplating it. Exploring that feeling and the reasons for it led to this blog post.]
I deserve God’s grace.
Did that bother you at all that I said that? Does it maybe raise your “religious hackles” to hear me say (or anyone for that matter) that we DESERVE anything from God? Well, except judgement, wrath and Hell, of course. We’ve heard that PLENTY all our lives from the church. It’s only because of Jesus, and our acceptance of Him, that we don’t get all that stuff that we DO deserve, and THAT, is said, is grace. But I think we’ve been lied to. Or, at the least, been given a half-truth. Let’s look closer at this. I think you MIGHT come away from this article feeling OK with saying that you DO really DESERVE God’s grace.
First of all, let’s define terms. “Grace” — what is it? Well “dictionary.com” defines it as “favor or goodwill”, “mercy, clemency, pardon”.
In church, the definition I was taught was “undeserved favor” OR “unmerited favor”. You’re probably going, “Well, look, right there it SAYS ‘undeserved’, so HOW can you possibly DESERVE grace?” Well, because I think ‘undeserved’ is not the same as ‘unmerited’ and has crept into our vernacular over time. “Unmerited” means that you didn’t EARN it or WIN it, perform some task, fulfill some promise, etc., etc.. But “undeserved” doesn’t mean the same thing. You can deserve something without having EARNED it, simply by being who you are. For instance, the President DESERVES respect. You may not want to GIVE it to him because of his actions, but he DESERVES it by nature of his office. He didn’t EARN it, as it wasn’t HIS actions that got him the position. He, in a sense, was “gifted” the position, and WITH that position comes certain “perks”, and one of those is respect.
In the same way, we, because of who WE are, DESERVE God’s grace.
And there goes those hackles again. I know. I felt them, too. But let me explain.
We deserve God’s grace not because we did or can EVER do anything to “merit” it, but because of who He made us to be. He formed us IN HIS image and calls us ALL His “children.” Yes, even those of us who are currently “astray”. To be “lost” implies ownership. We are all belong to Him, and nothing we do can change that. We can DENY His Fathership over us but that changes nothing. And with that “position” as God’s child comes certain “perks”. And these are God’s unconditional love, His mercy AND His grace. These are a given, a reality that exists whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. God FAVORS you. In the words of the character of “God” in The Shack, He “is especially fond” of you, and me, and every one of us. At Jesus’ birth, the angels declared, “Peace, goodwill on earth, on whom His favor rests.” That’s not JUST a collective statement. It goes for EACH person. God’s favor (GRACE) rests on YOU. Because you, as part of mankind — God’s special, Spirit-breathed creation — DESERVE that grace and love because of who you are to God, your value to Him. And nothing you do will change that for the worse OR for the better. Nothing will earn you LESS of God’s grace. Nothing will earn you MORE of God’s grace. Because it’s not about YOU, but about who you are to HIM. And, by extension, who EVERYONE you meet is to God.
So, learn to be OK with DESERVING God’s grace. AND learn to give your OWN grace to everyone you meet, because, regardless of THEIR actions, they ALSO deserve God’s grace. Say it out loud. Not as a matter of PRIDE (cause you didn’t do anything), but as a matter of confidence (trust) in God. You can KNOW that God is FOR you, favoring you, desiring your best, because you are His precious child.
And you deserve it. 🙂