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Does Grace Get Uncomfortable?

Jesus is Emmanuel–God with us.

When He walked on the earth, He drew the attention of everyone. The self-righteous hated Him. The hopeless sinners loved him, but both groups had a close eye on this Jesus.

I have contemplated for a while and even wrote myself a note for a future blog post, “Jesus didn’t appear to try hard. I want to come to the place where I can be comfortable in who He made me to be and who He is in me.”

Truth is, I’m not there yet.

I can be uncomfortable around people who struggle differently than I do, not because I condemn them but I don’t know how to relate exactly. I can be uncomfortable with people I think are further along in God than I am, not because I think they are so elite but because maybe they have something I don’t.

Back to my main thought: Jesus was and is Emmanuel. He is God with us. He was comfortable in any situation in which He found Himself because that is the nature of God and the nature of grace. He is with us–in our sins or in our righteousness (or self-righteousness), in our trials or in our joys, in our struggles or in our victories.

Andy Stanley says in the Grace of God,

People who were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus. They weren’t simply respectful; they liked him. They were comfortable around him… Jesus liked people who were nothing like him. He was as comfortable as they were. Maybe more so.

That grace is available to us. People can get uncomfortable when we’re uncomfortable, but grace seeks out those who need grace, not those who think they deserve it. God is with us, just with us. I know it may seem as though I’m belaboring that point, but it’s blowing me away.

Our Father doesn’t demand we meet a certain standard before we can hang out and we don’t have to be uncomfortable about hanging out with people who don’t meet a standard either. I think we can get too self-conscious about wanting people to know we don’t condone behavior or sin or whatever else, but God doesn’t deal with that as a prerequisite to our coming so why should we with others?

partyWherever needy people are, God wants to be there. And wherever God is, there will be an offering of grace.

And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. –Luke 5:31

Whoever needs healing, there God is. Whoever needs forgiveness, there God is. Whoever needs strength, there God is. He’s not uncomfortable and neither should we be. Just because God is there or God in us is there doesn’t mean people will respond to the grace, but at least they will have been offered it.

We can even like to hang out with crazy sinners. Jesus did and anyone who accepted grace began to live a changed life.  Maybe that’s a strategy for revival worth pursuing.

What are your thoughts? Where are you most comfortable and why do you think that is?


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Welcome to week 10 of our book club discussion of the Grace of God (disclosure) by Andy Stanley. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for the widget and another great take. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please share your thoughts! We always appreciate a vibrant conversation.

18 Comments

  1. I too feel the uncomfortable of not being able to relate when I’m around others going through stuff I haven’t been through before. I know I try too hard when extending grace should just come naturally. That’s how I know that I still have a new place to attain. Great though provoking stuff.
    Philip recently posted..Social Networking Is(n’t that) EvilMy Profile

    • Do or do not. There is no try. A wise puppet said that once. 🙂 Really though, Jesus was full of grace and truth and He invites us to live the same. Blows me away to think about it! Thanks Philip.

      • Well, a talented writer had the line delivered by the voice for the puppet -- but that takes to long to say 🙂

        Seriously -- there are things people go through that we may never experience ourselves, but is that a handicapping condition in being present? We’re not all tempted towards the same sins, haven’t all committed the same ones -- but do we not all fall short of the glory of God?

        Some things do not come naturally to us, and we must be taught how to do them until, after having do so for so long, it looks to an outsider that we do it effortlessly. Sorry, but skilled people are not born with their skills -- talent must be trained. Empathy? No training required -- just be there. Oh, wait -- I’ve already blogged on that 🙂
        Rick Dawson recently posted..There’s A Riot Going OnMy Profile

  2. Put my email wrong. 2nd comment to get follow ups 🙂

    • Ha! Good deal. 🙂

  3. Last night at our church bible study we looked at the story in Matthew 17 where Jesus and the disciples got back into Capernaum, When they got back it was temple tax time. Jesus told Peter let us not offend them go down to the lake and the first fish you catch you’ll find a coin and with that coin pay the tax. Jesus had all right to not pay that tax being The Son of God, (The Father through Moses established this tax) but He didn’t come to the Earth as The Son of God He Came as The Son Of Man. So as The Son of Man He did things that would make all of us uncomfortable like associating with a Samaritan women, Having a trader on your staff (Matthew). So if Jesus extended Grace to all these people, I should as well.

    • Yep! What good would it do to extend grace when we get to heaven? What good would that do? Grace has impact on us and those around us. May we be those vessels of grace he made us to be! Thanks Andrew.

      • After I came back home I did a study on why Jesus chose Capernaum for the head quarters of His ministry (Matthew 4) I found some interesting finds Peter, Andrew, James,John & Matthew are from there, The sermon on the mount was done in an area not from there. Jairus and the women of the issue of blood takes place around there. The centurion healing took place there. So moral of the study Jesus showed a lot of Grace to those folks in that area.

        • Very interesting!

  4. Awesome post, Jason. Point well made, brother. He is with us and if He’s with us and we’re in Him we shouldn’t have the insecurities of this flesh… I’m with you, there are times and places I’m less comfortable being around certain people, but it’s less and less as I get older and gain His wisdom. If my Father is with me, I’m good… Excellent Word today…

    • I think you’re right about that, Floyd. Age does help equalize some of those insecurities. I’m so glad! And we have access to the same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead and ministered through Him is quickening us! Grace prevails. Thank you, Floyd.

  5. “Jesus didn’t try hard.” I guess he just lived who he was (which was pretty awesome), but he did purposefully chose the simple, the quiet, the unadorned.

    So I guess I should drop the facade and just be his son..
    David Rupert recently posted..Why don’t they believe?My Profile

    • Me too, David. Why is it hardest to just be yourself sometimes? Seems like a simple enough thing, but so many rejections, struggles, misunderstandings, etc. tell us otherwise. I want to be the son He made me to be. Thank you.

  6. I really enjoyed this chapter- in fact, each chapter just keeps getting better and better (I only regret time doesn’t permit me to post on them as I’d like).

    I really like your post on this chapter. It’s inspiring. I too want to be someone others are comfortable around but I’m not there yet.
    I have several friends who are not Christians and they are comfortable around me and we discuss faith and politics. But I also have family who doesn’t share my views and I’m pretty sure that if we weren’t related they’d have nothing to do with me or Jesus in me.
    For a while that bothered me. I wondered why some where comfortable around me and others weren’t. God helped me understand that the aroma of God draws some people in and it repeals others. My friends who are comfortable with me smell God and they like it- even if they don’t realize they do.
    I’m blabbering, sorry.

    • No such thing as blabbering around here. If so, I’m in trouble. 🙂 I know what you’re saying. Even Jesus’ brothers made fun of him. I have a lot of trouble around family myself in these areas, but somehow Jesus never backed down and didn’t play into it. He stayed in grace without compromising. It’s incredible! It’s also what I want. Thanks so much, TC.

  7. Jason, have you ever told one of your kids to do something, and then they do it, but not before they show you by their attitude that they really don’t want to? Sure, they’ve been obedient in their actions, but what about their hearts?

    When I first started spending time with unchurched people, a number of my churched friends confronted me and wanted to know if I was confronting my unchurched friends with their sins. Jesus didn’t tell me to JUDGE them. He told me to LOVE them. I’m trying to be obedient to that in my actions AND in my heart.

    Some of my churched friends now think I’m backslidden because I don’t walk around condemning my unchurched friends. I simply see it as being obedient. And honestly, because I don’t walk around condemning them all of the time, they are more likely to come to me and confide in me when their hearts get soft. Yes, the progress is slow. They may not all come to Christ. But TODAY, they will know that they are loved. And I believe that God is pleased with that in me.

    (Just some thoughts I had while reading your excellent post, my friend.) 🙂
    Sarah Salter recently posted..Getting ComfortableMy Profile

    • It’s definitely not the way a lot of church people think for some reason. I admit to feeling the pressure of confrontation in the past, but what changed it for me was seeing how God loves. He gives and demands nothing in return, raining on and blessing the just and unjust whether they ever acknowledge Him or not. I started telling our congregation here that showing kindness and love then even expecting something good like their coming to church was less than what God would do. We want results and we want to see them NOW. If we don’t, we think we are failures (or are told we are failures), but God doesn’t love that way. There is no reciprocity involved and He gives us grace to love the same way. I’m with you, Sarah! Thanks so much.

      • Someone who loves me has permission to take my inventory -- I would expect a friend to let me know if they see me doing something that violates who I profess to be -- but someone who does not know me, has no knowledge of my history, the battles I’ve been in, win or lose, walks up to me because they see me violate what is a sin rule for them and chastises me for it?

        Hmmm…I may have to extend grace to that person, along with a few lessons 🙂
        Rick Dawson recently posted..There’s A Riot Going OnMy Profile

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