Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Da Word... 223! Law Shmaw!

Why is it that no one remembers the good stuff that happened, but only the bad stuff!? I mean seriously right? All the years of doing great things for someone seem like its forgotten in the blink of an eye when you make that one error. Why can't people lend us the grace to fail sometimes?

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
- Paul (Romans 3:20)

Yo my man Paul lays it DOWN in Romans! It's great! The book really attempts to push us off our high horse and to have a reality check. That's important, because we get grounded and therefore much more able to handle anything the world my try to throw our way.

So why don't people lend us the grace to fail? And why do they tend to remember the bad things rather than the good things. Well.... it's because the "bad" things, the personal affronts, HURT! The body is an amazing thing, the mind even more so. A kid who doesn't understand the concept of heat learns REAL fast the first time that young child touches a stove top. Do you remember your first time? Yeah... you didn't do that again did you? Why? The memory of that pain is so etched into your mind that you will never forget it. More technically, your mind creates a pathway in your mind that connects that experience to a pain center. Your body then becomes hardwired to issue tremendous warnings anytime you get close to doing that again. The signal is ever more acute. It's about survival, and it's a defense mechanism.

In the same way, an affront causes pain. Pain is easily remembered because it is etched. As a result, all the good we think we've done seems to unfairly get tossed out over one single affront. It's hard for peeps to extend grace once an affront happens because they don't want to be hurt again. Furthermore, we tend to want retribution. It takes a higher kind of human to be able to extend grace; it's a path not heavily traveled because it is not easy.

So what's the point? The point is that the Law, in this case the Law handed down by the Jews, is not sufficient for declaring one righteous! The Law exists only to make us conscious of what sin is. In much the same way, our friends, family, loved ones, and significant other have expressed to us a "law" of relationship. We tell each other what makes us happy and what hurts us. But once we step into the hurt territory... it's all sunk! We need something more. Mere observance of the Law cannot declare us righteous because it is NOT some simple weight scale. More good does not necessarily overtake bad, nor can it prove us righteous. What do we need? We need grace.....

In order to grow, we need to be extended grace, otherwise the path toward growth is immediately blockaded and there is no way forward. We've gotta extend grace to those who hurt us in order to allow some room for the relationship to heal and grow stronger than it has ever been. This is part of the reason why Pops above extends us unlimited grace. He knows our limitations and our tendency to fall. But if we are genuine in our desire and aren't arrogant enough not to ask for homie's grace, we will receive that grace and in immeasurable flow. By this grace, we can be declared righteous for Pops above is righteous.



- patrick