Thursday, April 1, 2010

Stealing a Post

I cut and pasted the following thoughts straight from Jon Acuff's Stuff Christian's Like blog because I love it.

The “comma of grace.”
I found it in Luke 22. In that chapter, Jesus is being led away. He is headed to the cross. A million prophecies are coming true and chaos is breaking out a little amongst disciples that up to this point have sworn to serve until death. In the midst of that, he pulls Simon aside because he knows that Simon will soon betray him.
He says to Simon in Luke 22:31-32:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”
And then, he drops the 9 words that I can’t write about enough. The 9 words that I often turn to when I’ve failed and messed up again and feel hopelessly undeserving of hope.
Jesus tells Simon:
“And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Do you see what Jesus is saying in that first half of the sentence, And when you have turned back? He’s saying:
You are going to fail.
You are going to fall.
You are going to lose it.
You are going to make commitments and break them.
You are not going to always be the man you family needs.
You are going to sin.
But, but, but, you will turn back.
You will come back. You will know redemption. You will know return. You will know a God that not only allows the “comeback” but actually celebrates it.
When I read the phrase “And when you have turned back,” I read a loud, wild picture of what grace really looks like.
And then, if you go too fast, you’ll miss the comma. You’ll miss the gap that sits quietly between the next thought. You’ll miss it because like me, you might misread the second half of that sentence.
Here’s what it says:
“And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
But here’s how we write it sometimes:
“And when you have turned back, repent for a long time and stay a long way from me until you are clean enough to return to my presence.”
“And when you have turned back, please stay far away from any ministry opportunities. You are too broken to help other people. How can you minister to others when your own life is so messed up?
“And when you have turned back, here are the 57 things you need to do in order to earn back my good favor.”
But Christ doesn’t do that! He drops a comma like a grenade.
He gives us the gift of the comma and then asks us to strengthen our brothers. Not beat ourselves with emotional whips. Or lay in a hole of shame. Or stay to the shadows of church afraid to be seen.
He wants you. In his arms. By his side. Surrendered and free in his presence.
Not because you deserve it or have earned it or are perfect.
Because of Easter.
That’s it.
We all get the comma of grace.

I love that Jesus knows Simon will turn back. He knows Simon will deny Him, but He also knows Simon will turn back to Him. 
Jesus says, "I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail..."
Is Jesus praying for all of us -  that our faith will not fail? Sure hope so.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Grace and hope.
2. Easter
3. Memories


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