A Wretch Like Me
This week’s post is by Becca Wellan.
I don’t really understand grace. I simply don’t get it. I never have and honestly, I probably never will.
But I mean that differently than you might think.
I grew up on Kraft mac n’ cheese, Veggie Tales and Sunday morning floral dresses. I grew up on Sunday night Awana and Wednesday night Youth Group. I grew up on animal crackers, Christian radio and I’m-Obviously-Homeschooled outfits. I was a prime example of Girl-in-Christian-Bubble. I knew what to do and say, what to avoid, to be “Christian enough.” I knew the words to Amazing Grace, a hymn I will always carry close to me. I just didn’t understand it.
Grace: A Christian catchphrase tossed around, but never explained. Actually, it was likely explained, but I know me. I know I felt like I didn’t need it. Though not consciously, in my heart I thought, I’m a good girl right? I don’t smoke, drink or sleep around. I don’t swear. I don’t listen to certain bands. I don’t wear certain clothes. I don’t watch certain TV shows or movies. I read my bible and go to church. I’m golden.
I let God’s grace, love and forgiveness take up only a small place in my soul because they simply didn’t resonate with me.
Though I knew I wasn’t sinless, I fit the “good Christian girl” mold. In my blindness, I didn’t see my need for Jesus.
It’s funny how Sin deceives you like that. No, not funny. It’s scary how sin deceives you like that. His grimy, sweaty hands hold half your heart and fight to win you over completely, while whispering sweetly in your ear that you’re too good for grace. Or, that you’re simply too wretched. And you believe him, because your heart is deceitful. Sin stalks your deceitful heart, He knows it well. He plays on your weaknesses.
He played on mine. He stood by my side as I, with a dull knife, broke the mold.
It’s scary how sin deceives you to the point that you’re suddenly drowning in guilt and gasping for grace, all while hurting the people you care deeply about. It’s scary how you suddenly find yourself in uncharted territory and you’re left alone, dazed, and wondering “how did I end up here?”
You can avoid all the wrong things and still be capable of causing yourself and others serious damage. That’s just what it is to be human. No one is immune to a fallen humanity. Except for Jesus. He wore our skin and bones. With a love for sinners that was downright scandalous to religious leaders of the time, He lived a life we could never live. To give us forgiveness we never could earn. To promise us heaven, which we could never get into left to our own clumsy shots at morality. Heaven is for the clumsy moral, for the criminals and fools. Just look at Peter and Paul, David and Rahab.
In the mess I made, you know what shocked me more than my sin? Grace. Grace is completely unreasonable. It’s God’s consistent, gentle determination to show us kindness and favor even when we wreck our lives … as Christians. Grace doesn’t stop at conversion. Grace doesn’t stop. Period.
When that truth begins to sink in, it will change you. You don’t have to earn God’s love by avoiding sin, you don’t need to pay Him back for saving you by being obedient.
My perspective on being a Christian changed when I finally realized I can just lay down and cry and be the broken one, knowing that God’s got me and He’s not going anywhere. Even in the mess. Even in the hurt. Even though sin still clings to me. Through it all, He still looks at us with adoration and, with kindness, leads us home.
I don’t really understand grace. I simply don’t get it. I never have and honestly, I probably never will. Here’s why:
I have only begun to understand the comfort, the overwhelming joy, the laughter and freedom found in experiencing His totally unreserved, infinite, makes-no-sense-at-all, Amazing Grace towards wretched people like me. Like you.
We have the rest of our lives, and the rest of forever, to deepen our understanding of the grace that is ours through Jesus. We may think we don’t need Him, we may think we don’t deserve His love, and while we’re trying to piece our lives together He holds us in loving arms and says:
“Come now, let’s settle this … though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them white as snow.” // Isaiah 1:18.
“Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”