For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23
A few weeks ago, I traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia to spend a week immersing myself in a class I had to take as part of my Professional Counseling curriculum at Liberty University. For weeks, months even, I stressed about and dreaded the thought of spending the money to travel, and spending a week in a hotel room, days with strangers, and a week away from my family. I eventually sucked it up and kept telling myself: “It is just a week, just another graduation requirement. No big deal, right?
Wrong! What I once thought was simply a class requirement ended up being an often grueling, rather nerve-wracking, yet, life changing experience.
See, before I traveled to Lynchburg to embark on this phase of my college journey, I thought I was pretty tolerant and willing to show grace of others sins. I thought I had it all together, and that I was unbiased, empathetic, and well-versed at showing Biblical grace.
Wrong again! I was pretty tolerant. I was rather empathetic, and could usually place myself in other’s shoes, but it took facing my own demons of the past, and discovering why I built my own walls to quickly find out I had so much more to learn. So much further to go on this journey to grace.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people. Titus 2:11
When we give our lives to God, and begin to navigate our way through newfound salvation and newfound life in Christ, we often forget that we are still natural-born sinners. We often think: “I have been made new. I have turned from my evil ways, and I am free. Free to judge others sin. Free to criticize those who do wrong, and point the finger at those who do wrong. I have it all together now, right? Wrong!
Let’s be frank and honest, here. We are all sinners. We all have demons in our past. We all have struggles with our flesh, mind, and spirit. My sin is no less and no more than anyone else’s, and coming to terms with this, tearing down the walls that say “I am right, and you are wrong” is how we begin to walk the path towards showing the grace of God.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10
Jesus was the friend of sinners, come to die for the least of these, dying on a cross between two men sentenced for their crimes, and dying at the hands of a nation who believed they were right, and Jesus was wrong. Still, Jesus knew that each sin was no more and no less.
Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:24
That dreaded week away from home was not just another class I needed to take to graduate, but a challenge from God for me to become more tolerant, more forgiving, more patient, more empathetic, and more willing to show grace-to fellow followers of Christ, to those who don’t believe, and to the least of these; to point them all to healing power of Christ, and most importantly to crossover the line and love like He did.