Tuesday’s Child is Full of Grace
“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malicious behavior, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Be wise in the way you act toward those who are outside the Christian faith. Make the most of every opportunity. Everything you say should be gracious and kind, (seasoned with salt) so you respond to each person rightly.” (Colossians 3:8, 4:5-6)
Here I am, checking in. How have we fared since Good Friday, since Easter Sunday, only seven and five days passed?
Has our talk of grace waned like the phases of the moon? Have our gracious actions waned as well? Have we gone about our daily business without a thought about why we shared the bread and cup last Friday? Have we passed up opportunities to offer grace to those we live or work with, forgetting the Grace offered us and the reason we celebrated on Sunday?
We walked into church in our Sunday best, smiled at those around us, and nodded at the pastor’s sermon. And some of us didn’t even make it to the parking lot before we got angry at something or someone. Many of us didn’t make it home to our front doors. Some of us didn’t make it through Monday at work.
Like that old nursery rhyme, I’m asking all of us to be Tuesday Christians, full of grace. Let’s try to carry the cross of love and mercy and grace with us throughout our week. Let’s meet folks where they are, just as Jesus did. Instead of thinking and talking and behaving the same old way, let’s allow the Spirit of the Lord to transform us. I mean, if we don’t allow the Spirit to make an impact upon us at Easter, when will we let him in?
So it’s only one week away from Good Friday; only five days away from Easter. Have we entirely forgotten the words Jesus spoke to us? Have we already chosen to turn our backs on him by justifying our own words and behavior?
As I listen to politicians, their mouths spewing words like, “moron,” “imbecile,” “loser,” and phrases like, “I’d love to punch him in the face,” I worry at their popularity among those of us calling ourselves Christians. Are we really buying the lie that anger will lead us to right thinking? That anger will lead us toward a closer relationship with our God?
As you know, long ago God instructed Moses to tell His people, “Do not murder; those who murder will be judged and punished.” But here is the even harder truth: I tell you, anyone who is angry with his brother will be judged for his anger. Anyone who taunts his friend, speaks contemptuously toward him, or calls him “Loser” or “Fool” or “Idiot,” will have to answer to the high court. (Matthew 5:21-22)
I don’t know about you, but for me, it seems sometimes as though our words and actions have journeyed far from grace. They have traveled far from the Living Water they were meant to be. We cannot extend grace if our hearts and minds are intransigent, if our ideas have become frozen like cement, if our notions of what we are supposed to do have caused us to make them into new laws to follow. We cannot mature in our faith in frozen water, only in Living Water.
“I think far too often, we confuse faith with religion. And faith with theology. And faith with denominations. And faith with doctrine. The moment we are no longer inviting to those who aren’t just like us, we begin to harden. Cement swells or shrinks with the temperature, while water flows into every parched crack of our souls. Maybe cement cannot be moved, but it is water that nourishes us and brings life to us all.” Steve Austin, Wrestling with Messy Grace