There’s no doubt that the days we’re living in are toxic. Just being and interacting in our modern-day societies does damage.
We breathe polluted air, drink contaminated water, eat toxic foods.
No less dangerous are the poisonous ideas we feed our minds, and the diet of rage and fury we give our hearts.
It can be overwhelming thinking about the environmental issues affecting our planet, and how we as individuals can possibly make a difference.
But one thing that is within our individual control is the protection of our hearts and minds from the spiritual toxicity around us. The best way to do this is by saturating ourselves and our relationships with pure, undiluted, uncontaminated grace.
The true, radical, life-transforming message of grace is one that often gets lost in today’s world.
We’re living in days of fiercely competing ideologies. Any issue you care to think of has become a battlefield of polar opposite opinions. Politics. Race. Religion. Sexual and gender identity. Climate change.
It has become normal to view those on the other side of any debate with a sense of outrage. Today’s media (and social media) fans these flames of fury into fire and encourages impulsive, emotive responses rather than careful reasoning.
The problem with rage is that it destroys our hearts, our relationships, and our communities. Rage doesn’t create anything new. It only tears down and destroys.
That’s why there’s a desperate need to activate the only antidote powerful enough to neutralize the toxic anger that permeates our societies.
The power of forgiveness. The power of grace. The power of the Cross.
When Jesus died on the Cross, he leveled the playing field. There are no longer good and bad people. No one is righteous. Not even one. We are all sinners dressed in dirty rags, unworthy to enter the throne room of the Great King.
This doesn’t mean that we should stop engaging with the issues of our day and making decisions about what is right and wrong.
But it does change the way we approach issues and people. It strips away self-righteousness and condemnation. Even those we disagree with we can respond to with grace. Even when others hurt us and let us down, we can choose to forgive.
The world is full of high ideals and theories of what a humane, compassionate, progressive society should look like. But high ideals in the absence of grace become judgmental, self-righteous, and abusive. No one can possibly live up to an ideal. Besides, in a world where everything is relative and absolute truth is something of a dirty concept, no one even agrees on what the ideals should be.
Grace allows us to be both idealistic and realistic at the same time. The Bible clearly sets out what a moral life should look like, and the benchmark is high. But while we should keep this standard of godliness always in mind and strive to be more Christ-like every day, God’s Word is also clear that we will never manage to attain perfection. That’s why Jesus died on the Cross. To cover our sin.
In order to break down the walls of outrage and self-righteousness that so many of us are imprisoned by, we need to come before the Throne of Grace. We need to see ourselves as flawed but forgiven children of God. We need to soak in the reality of His love that is totally undeserved. And then we need to let this radical grace transform our relationships with those around us.
This is the lost message of grace that our world so desperately needs to recover.