Are Love and Grace a Thing of the Past?
By Al Reimche
Love and Grace. Have these words just become cliché? Or is there something within these words that can be transformative?
This past week I had the opportunity to visit with most of our northern pastors and we spent some time discussing issues that many pastors have wrestled with.
These APCs (Area Pastors’ Conferences) as we call them, have often been focused on the decisions and directions of the conference and departments. However, this year we took time to discuss issues that are becoming more of a focus within our communities and in our churches and schools. Though the presenting issues were not about love, grace, acceptance, the discussion naturally shifted toward those words, and approaches to address the concerns.
It would seem that these concepts of love and grace have already been addressed, or as some would say, “Knocked and kicked around” until there is nothing new to discuss. In many cases we have written the discussion off as another battle of faith vs. works – Paul vs. James. But nothing is further from the truth. It is in discovering and sharing the beautiful character of God that we are changed.
One of the individuals telling their story in the video we shared at the APC stated that, “You can’t give up something you have for someone or something you don’t really know or understand.” And that is so true. It is not within God’s plan for us to give something up without knowing Someone better. Until we are able to grasp the deep love God has for us, we are unable to deal with the temptations and effects of sin in our lives. As Paul says in Romans 2:4, “… the goodness of God leads to repentance.”
Our world is dying for lack of a true picture of God. A picture that says, “I love you! I love you! I love you! You are My child. You have value to Me! I accept you just as you are, but I cannot leave you there!” Sadly, this beautiful picture can even be distorted inside our churches.
Personally, I came away from each of the discussions with renewed love for a God who willingly reaches into our sin-blackened world, calls sinners His children, and then offers all the grace and love and discipling necessary for them to spend forever with Him.
By the way, the video we showed the pastors is something every church needs to see. Though it will not be available until this fall, your pastor is looking forward to an opportunity of sharing this with you. I believe the discussion that follows will be the beginning of a life-changer for you, your church, and your community.