Forgetting About Grace

Do you ever make life too complicated and forget the basics?
Last week I spoke to a pastor about leading a men’s retreat. He asked me to outline my vision for the sessions.

So I talked about stories and testimonies and adversity. I traced a path from storm through darkness to hope and light. I shared my clever idea for giving them something tangible to take back with them.

It was all very creative and neatly tied together around a cool theme that fit perfectly with the campground setting. I was pretty proud of my presentation. “So what do you think?”

He drew a circle on his note pad. “Okay, we’re starting here. We’re going here, and here, and here, right? And we’re going to end up here?”

His circle captured the essence of my idea, but he left a gap at the end.

Then he sketched in the rest of the circle and said, “Don’t forget about grace.”

I guess I looked confused. “We’re going to ask these guys to be vulnerable, expose some pretty raw spots. Some of them may open up wounds, failures, areas that need healing and growth.

“That’s all okay. For some of them, it’s why they’re coming. Perhaps they need to take a hard look at themselves.

“But let’s not let anyone leave feeling guilty, or feeling like they have to fix it or earn God’s love and acceptance.”

Don’t forget about grace.

He’s right, of course. It’s so easy to get caught up in stories and ideas, to make it more complicated than it has to be. Suddenly religion becomes your savior. It’s about rules and theology and doing the right things.

I don’t resolve to do better to earn God’s love; I do it out of gratitude for Jesus’ sacrifice. It might not look much different on the outside. It makes all the difference on the inside.

Don’t forget about grace.

Yeah. That’s a pretty good reminder.

Do you ever forget about grace?

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