The audacity of grace is the hardest thing, as a Christian, to deal with. We serve a God who pardons sins with no recollection. But, we live with minds that remember them, full well. Why can’t we be like God? Why can’t we forget, too?
Wouldn’t our song have more life? If we could erase the pain, wouldn’t our step have more bounce? The memory and the scars tear us down to skin and bones. Bitterness soils our sheets. Pain flavors our toothpaste. Our resentment turns our coffee cold. Our shoes are heavy. Our empty stomachs bloat with stress.
Where is the glory of God in his forgiveness? Where does it help you for him to forgive them? They’re not even sorry!
Are we like Jonah? He preached to the Ninevites. Vile sinners, open and flagrant. Shameless. He told them what God told him to say and they repented. Then, Jonah, a prophet, a man of God, was furious. He practically spit on the work that God did when he pardoned the huge city of sin from their due.
‘Jonah was furious. He lost his temper. He yelled at God, “God! I knew it—when I was back home, I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I ran off to Tarshish! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness!’ – Jonah 4:1-2
The audacity of grace. This two-fisted forgiveness that uses no gauge. Mercy that shows no respect to whom the mercy takes justice from.
Where is the glory of God in his forgiveness, you ask? To whom do you wish to bestow glory? Yourself? Isn’t that why you’re angry? Isn’t that why you withhold grace?
Where does it help you for him to forgive them, you wonder? Is this about you? Maybe it is, but not in a way you think it is. Maybe it’s a device to aid you in letting go of your ‘self’. Maybe your pain is your plank.
You think they’re not sorry? What makes you an expert on the inner workings of another man’s heart?
‘So don’t get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of—inner motives and purposes and prayers. … It’s important to look at things from God’s point of view. I would rather not see you inflating or deflating reputations based on mere hearsay. For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart?’ – 1 Corinthians 4:5-7
You can sulk if you want.
‘God arranged for a broad-leafed tree to spring up. It grew over Jonah to cool him off and get him out of his angry sulk. Jonah was pleased and enjoyed the shade. Life was looking up. But then God sent a worm. By dawn of the next day, the worm had bored into the shade tree and it withered away. The sun came up and God sent a hot, blistering wind from the east. The sun beat down on Jonah’s head and he started to faint.‘ – Jonah 4:6-8
You can complain about the shade tree God grew for you one night and took away the next.
“What right do you have to get angry …?” – God, Jonah 4:9
Don’t be so shortsighted that you forget that there is so much that we don’t know and the only way to be right is to LOVE.
‘When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love.’ – Romans 13:8