Jesus messes with our thoughts on fairness and what it is to show grace to others because His grace has nothing to do with being fair or giving us what we deserve.
Jesus explained grace by telling a story about a son who squandered his inheritance, broke his Father’s heart, and eventually came back home destitute and asking for a job. Instead of punishing his son, the Father rejoiced, threw a big party and proclaimed, “my son was lost, but now he is found”. (Luke 15:11-32)
His brother, however, is heard saying the words, which perhaps have rung out in our hearts. “But that’s not fair; I’ve been doing the right thing, working and being a good son, and you have never thrown a big party for me.”
Or take the astounding act of grace extended to the hardened criminal who hung on a cross beside Jesus as He died. In his final moments on earth, this man who had undoubtedly lived a godless existence chose to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God and received forgiveness and an eternity in heaven. (Luke 23:39-43)
It doesn’t make sense in a world where we are taught that nothing is free, no pain, no gain, you must work for everything you have, and people get what they deserve. Yet, “if I care to listen, I hear a loud whisper from the gospel that I did not get what I deserved. I deserved punishment and got forgiveness. I deserved wrath and got love. I deserved debtor’s prison and got instead a clean credit history. I deserved stern lectures and crawl on your knees repentance; I got a banquet spread out for me.”(Philip Yancey)
God’s motive and heart towards us are always so full of grace. This grace can’t be earned and is nothing to do with finishing last or first or reliant on our self-worth. It isn’t anything we do or don’t do, but a gift from God already bought and paid for.
His grace is not fair in the world’s way of thinking; otherwise, only “good” people would be loved and forgiven by God, the hard-working would be the only one’s rewarded and if you only squeezed into heaven on your dying breath, you would be viewed as insignificant or a lesser person in the company of the great men and woman of faith and good works.
But thank God for His grace that isn’t anything to do with “fairness” even though He always plainly sees us at our very best and worst, He still extends His grace to us anyway. It’s a grace that never gives up on us, which is faithful to perfect that which it starts in us and promises we can never drift so far away from God’s love and grace that He won’t come looking for us and bring us home.
Today I encourage you to receive God’s grace for you and then choose to lay aside your grievances and extend that same grace to others. His grace working in and through you is enough.
“For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 TPT)
“Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus. Everybody was there, taxmen and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. The Pharisees and their religious scholars came to his disciples greatly offended. “What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and ‘sinners’?”
Jesus heard about it and spoke up, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.” (Luke 5:29-32 Message translation)
Prayer: Lord, please help me to comprehend that your face is not about anything I can do or what is even fair, but all about you and your love for me. I thank you for your great grace today. In Jesus name Amen.