Grace Is Dangerous

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post called “To All The Girls Who Didn’t Say No.” It was something that had been on my heart for a long time, and I was so thankful to have been able to share the hope that Jesus has for all of the girls who, like me, have lived with the shame of their past sins. While I was writing, there was a sentence that just came to me that took me back a little bit as I typed it: “Saving yourself for marriage will not make you right with God. Only trusting what Jesus did on the cross for all of your sins will.”

I knew what I wrote was true. But it felt dangerous. It felt like I was close to crossing a very thin line. I immediately thought of angry moms contacting me, and questioning if I was giving young girls the license to go and do as they please. And then I remembered a similar story I heard: a pastor was talking with a man in his church who was not happy with the fact that the pastor’s preaching had messages with law in it, but no grace. The pastor thought for awhile about what this man said, and then he came to this conclusion: he feared that if he really preached grace, his congregation would just go out and sin more. He realized he didn’t understand grace at all.

There’s just something about grace that feels dangerous. And I think I lived in that fear myself for a long time…especially in my relationship with my own kids.

I became a Christian when my eldest was about 6 years old. As she got older, my fears emerged. I feared what a lot of parents do, that she would start hanging out with bad kids. That she would wind up doing drugs, or having sex outside of marriage and getting pregnant. I feared she would go down a dangerous road that would eventually take her away from the safety of our family. So I bought all the books on how Christian girls should date, kept her away from movies rated higher than PG, made sure she wasn’t listening to certain radio stations, dressed her very modestly, and tried to get her involved in as many “church” sponsored activities as I could to keep her away from the “bad” kids. But what I didn’t realize was that the rules I gave her would not help her keep the rules—because the law cannot cause what it desires. But, God’s Word, the Gospel–Jesus Christ himself–creates what it desires as it has from the beginning (Gen. 1:1).

So what does really believing that look like? Well, one recent, rainy afternoon, I picked my daughter up from school. As we drove through town I noticed a kid about her age walking down the sidewalk, soaking wet. I asked my daughter if she knew who he was and she told me she knew he lived across town, was a nice kid, but had a sad family situation. Then she told me: he’s quite the pot smoker, and troublemaker. I pulled over alongside him and rolled down the window and asked him if he wanted a ride.

But instead of having fear of having him in my car, near my daughter, I was actually excited to have the opportunity to pick up that boy. Because of the freedom I had in the gospel, the burden of fear was lifted off of me. It was like, wow, I can do this. I can love this kid and not be afraid of him. I realized how silly it was of me to be afraid of all of those things in the world that once kept me in bondage to my legalistic mindset. I realized it wasn’t those things that I had to be afraid of, but what was in my own heart and the heart of my daughter that I should be afraid of. And that only the Holy Spirit could transform the heart of my daughter just like he did for me.

Trusting the Gospel gives us the freedom to love others without fear. It means we can pick up a “not so good,” pot smoking kid, and allow him to sit in the car with our daughter and have a conversation with him as we give him a ride home. It means we don’t have to hide our kids from all the bad in the world because the biggest obstacle they have to face is the rebellious heart inside of them, not the people or circumstances around them. It means I am not surprised anymore when they sin. It means when they do, I trust every sin is the start of a trail that can lead them to Christ.

Yes, I think grace is dangerous. It’s a crazy freedom he gives us. Yet, being in the arms of my heavenly Father is the safest place to be. He doesn’t love me because I keep the rules. He doesn’t love me because of any good I have inside of me. Only Jesus kept the rules, and he kept them for me. Only Jesus was good, and he lived a perfect life for me.

So he just loves me because he loves me. He just loves me because I am His.

And because of that, where he is…is where I want to be.

This post was written by Kimberley Suchta.

He Welcomes Sinners

The Parable of the Lost Sheep reveals that just as sheep are, by nature, unable to avoid straying from their shepherd, so humans, because of our sinful nature, are totally lost and in need of rescue by Jesus, our good shepherd. But in rescuing us from our sin, Jesus is not only showing us the power of grace to bring about individual redemption. Through his ministry, he also demonstrates the power of grace to create a new kind of community that bonds all kinds of people together, freely confesses sin, and offers healing and acceptance by the grace of Jesus Christ.

http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sites/sermons2.redeemer.com/files/sermons/RPC-He_Welcomes_Sinners.mp3

To All the Girls Who Didn’t Say No

One of the most profound days of my life was the day I told my Mom and Dad I was pregnant. I wasn’t married. I had just moved home and out of the apartment I shared with my boyfriend. I was beginning my first semester at a technical college trying to make the most of my messed up life. It was far from stable. After my parents took in the initial shock, and having some long conversation with them, I will never forget the small smile that emerged from my Mom’s face as she said, “I am going to be a Grandma.”

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Revelation 5

One of my favorite things to do is to hike. Preferably I like to hike up a very large mountain, where I get angry ¾ of the way up and refuse to talk to anybody with me because it’s their fault I am feeling like I’m about to die. I hate the “almost there” part, it’s the worst. But I love the top. I love standing looking down on our city and getting a new perspective. I know that might sound cheesy, but I’m always surprised at how my eyes are opened when I’m standing at the top. I look down and see things that feel so big to me when I am next to them but now they seem miniscule. I feel like I can breathe differently, more freely. Though, that may be because I am out of shape and lightheaded…but whatever.

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