Christianity is unfair

Today Dan Sneed spoke in our church on forgiveness and reconciliation. An excellent speaker with an excellent message. He shared some stories of a Christian leadership conference in Iraq last August (the first since 325 A.D.!), where he also spoke about forgiveness. A heavy topic in a country that is torn apart by dictatorship and tribal wars, where revenge and strike-back is the usual language of communication. Incredible stories of how God broke through and set people free. The core of Dan’s message is that when you forgive, you set a captive free – only to find out that you are that captive! The trouble with forgiveness is that it seems unfair – which in fact is true. A dad who’s kid has been murdered, has every right to hold the murderer accountable, to have justice done to him; that is fair! He does not deserve to be forgiven. A recent example is the Marc Dutroux case in Belgium, who raped and murdered several young girls. The surviving victims did not want to forgive him or his ex-wife. I think we all completely understand, and I will be the last to throw stones at them. But at the same time: this unforgiveness can keep them emprisoned for the rest of their lives.

I recently read Philip Yancey’s book ‘What’s so amazing about grace?’, which deals with the same subject. Yancey also tells a lot of stories. Maybe because grace cannot be captured in a ‘doctrine’? Maybe because it is so counter-intuitive that only a story can expose the meaning?

I have been thinking about ‘grace’ for a while, and I share Yancey’s view that grace (impersonated in Jesus Christ) is the key factor that differentiates christianity from other religions: the forgiving love of God for men made Him come down and save us, even while we did not deserve it; and that many christians, including me, miss the point…

GRACE (U2)

Grace

She takes the blame

She covers the shame

Removes the stain

It could be her name

Grace

It’s a name for a girl

It’s also a thought that

Changed the world

And when she walks on the street

You can hear the strings

Grace finds goodness

In everything

Grace

She’s got the walk

Not on a wrapper on chalk

She’s got the time to talk

She travels outside

Of karma, karma

She travels outside

Of karma

When she goes to work

You can hear the strings

Grace finds beauty

In everything

Grace

She carries a world on her hips

No champagne flute for her lips

No twirls or skips

Between her fingertips

She carries a pearl

In perfect condition

What once was hers

What once was friction

What left a mark

No longer stains

Because grace makes beauty

Out of ugly things

Grace finds beauty

In everything

Grace finds goodness

In everything

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