Is your view of grace self-centered or other-centered?
I've been thinking about grace a lot lately. So often my view of grace becomes focused on ways for me to not deal with my sin anymore—in a way it becomes a crutch for me to not feel guilty, convicted or hurt.
I fall into a pattern of living life in my new person and freedom that self-centered grace provides for me—which isn't necessarily bad. However, when grace promotes a sense inner denial and protection of my inner-self from my outer-self or my public image, it becomes self-centered, shallow, and dishonest.
Grace is and was never intended to be self-serving, but instead altruistic in it's very nature. It's never about protection and or opacity, but about vulnerability, and transparency. The grace Jesus talks about and demonstrates is about embracing the world through the lens of love, compassion, and empathy.
Self-centered grace creates a false image of who we really are, and keeps us from drawing closer to God. It keeps us working at becoming a better person, and sets up a false dichotomy of grace earned and not freely given. It truly keeps us from becoming who we were meant to be.
Where as other-centered grace reveals our need to be totally honest with God and with the people around us. This grace requires us to seek deep renewal and meaningful life-change. It is no longer about individualism, but it is about community. While grace might start inward, it was always destined to move outward. This grace is not about me and my salvation, but it is about the salvation of others—of all creation being made new.
Here's the thing. You can't live the grace that Jesus talks about on your own power or your own strength. You need Jesus and only Jesus.
So. What's wrong with your grace?