That's our mission in today's world. We aren't called to live as plaster saints. We are to live as wounded healers. Our stories, especially the ones filled with anguish, are the bridges God uses to walk into the lives of others. "They overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony" (Rev. 12:11).
TRUE GRACE VS. TOLERANCE
If grace is the tool God uses to transform the world, then tolerance is the tool Satan uses to usher in hell on earth.
Tolerance is certainly the buzzword of the day. And at first glance, it looks a lot like grace. It's nice. It seems forgiving, patient and kind. But tolerance is a road that leads to death.
Dorothy Sayers once said: "In this world it's called tolerance, but in hell it is called despair. The sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, enjoys nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing but remains alive because there is nothing which it would die for."
Despair is the natural conclusion of a life lived in tolerance. Grace finds its roots in the cross and the resurrection. Tolerance finds its roots in apathy and fear.
Christ's offer of grace to us through His death on the cross demonstrated His convictions, His belief that mankind needed a rescuer and His determination not to leave us to our own devices. He was bruised, He was cut, He was nailed, and He was pierced so that we could have a relationship with God.
Tolerance allows others to continue in sin because it is too afraid to offer help. Our world is full of people who are watching in silence as those around them perish apart from Christ because they value other people's freedom to choose their own way more than they value the people themselves.
When my son was a toddler, he darted out into the street in front of a car. I had a choice at that moment. I could sit in silence embracing my son's choice and allow him to be killed, or I could help him.
Obviously, I reached out and jerked him back to safety. It would have been monstrous for me to be apathetic in a moment like that. Nevertheless, the cardinal rule of tolerance is no interference even though interference is actually the most compassionate act.
What true grace offers us is the opportunity to be a friend of God, and we are closest to God when we are most aware of our need for grace--when we are most aware of our own brokenness. It is this brokenness that creates the space for God, and it is through the embracing of our weakness that His sacrifice is made real to us.
Mike Adkins is the founding and senior pastor of Grace Fellowship in Orlando, Florida. He and his wife, Kelly, have three children.
- << Prev