Grace surrounds me everywhere. It is in my marriage, it is my relationships, it is talked about in books I read and the church I go to, and even some of my favorite blogs have put their thoughts to pen on the subject.
But nothing has quite confronted me, or shall I say reminded me, with the idea of grace being nothing less than extravagant, than a book I read this summer called, "The Shack".
Over the summer, my sister told me I HAD to read this book that was the talk of the christian circles. Honestly, I was very suspicious. My sister and I are two different thinkers and while I don't have a taste for most mainstream Christian novels, I could tell she really wanted me to read it. So I did. And it changed me.
I don't want to spoil the book, I want to encourage others to read it. It's not perfect, and some may not like it, but it's a great book to discuss the ideas it brings forth into your thinking.
The idea that changed me while reading the book was the author's notion of grace. I want to say it's God's notion of grace, but I realize some may not buy into it. It's the idea that everybody....and anyone are loved and adored by God and all are extended God's love and grace.
I know, most of you are sitting there thinking, "Of course Jen, that's what the bible says, that's what we say in church, in bible studies, in cards etc.etc."
But do we believe it? Do we REALLY believe that God will say about anyone, "I am very fond of them" ? That's what "The Shack" leaves us to think about. When I sit and work out that thought in my mind, I know I haven't really believed it.
I have sat on my throne and said that the ugly of ugliest humanity don't deserve such grace, such fondness. I have been repulsed by the thought of children molesters, serial killers, and rapists, even Al Qaeda.
But after reading this book, I have come to the conclusion, that Yes, even they have God's grace and love. That God would say about them, "I am very fond of_____". Now I am not saying God is fond of their weaknesses and sin. But what I am saying is that God knows them better than I. He knows what led them to where they are in their life. He grieves their hurt and their loss just as much as he grieves mine or the loss of those men/women inflicted on their victims and their families.
And that is what has changed me. It allows me the ability to believe that
no one is a lost cause and no one deserves to "rot". It also gives me the freedom to forgive much easier than I have before and to have compassion on those I have had none for in the past.
And one other thing I loved about this book, is that is helps me to see God in different ways. I especially liked the way in which God revealed himself to the main character. I think it gives many Caucasian churches much to think about.