Friday, 23 October 2009

Although we must continue to speak on behalf of those who are oppressed and warn oppressors, my willingness to forgive them is not dependent on how they respond. Being able to extend grace and to forgive people sets us free. We no longer need to spend precious emotional energy thinking about the day oppressors will get what they deserve.

What I am learning about grace lifts a weight from my shoulders, which is nothing short of invigorating. When we can forgive and accept those who refuse to listen to God’s command to do justice, it allows them to hear God’s judgment without feeling a personal judgment from us. Which, in the end gives our message more integrity. The ability to give grace while preaching justice makes our witness even more effective.

Spencer Perkins

Great article about grace to be had here.

Grace is one of the reasons why the concept of an eternal hell where you are punished for your unrepented sins sounds more like a concept arising out of the ego of a man who doesn't really understand what grace is than out of a God who calls himself Love. Punishment for the sake of getting rid of your own anger and fear seems such a human device. God seems so much more creative than that.

The whole wanting to see people get what they deserve thing is one of the biggest prisons there is. It speaks just as much about the person mouthing the words as it does about the person who has committed the crime. I do not understand how some people are so dead-set on vengeance as they think it is anything other than a dead-end for them personally. It does not change anything at all within your own soul to see someone be punished, even if that crime was perpetrated towards you. It will not make you feel safer. Nothing makes you feel safe except knowing, really knowing, that we are capable of anything that those we hate and demonise are. And if we don't know that then we don't know how far down we stretch beyond our conscious knowing, both for good and ill.

"Vengeance is mine, I will repay" says God somewhere and for a long time I used to see that as a threat by a somehow deficient God and now I see it as a sigh of relief.

On our train system there are different sorts of artworks stuck up on the walls. "Moving Melbourne Through Art" they say. I think it's a good thing. Yesterday I saw a poem which contained a line about, "First enlightenment, and then go do the dishes." I laughed when I saw it again in the post above: "“Caring for each other, forgiving each other, and keeping the dishes washed."

I do not think enlightenment always produces amazingly lofty results. Surely the most amazing but seemingly most mundane is the way our eyes are opened to how truly amazing a single person is, how low, how deep, how fucked up, how dreamy and beautiful. The most basic and life-altering result of enlightenment is taking seriously how deep the changes go when we care for each other without insisting our personal agendas be consented to. Liberating.


  1. Wonderful, marvellous post, Sue, and the link. I'm glad to meet Chris Rice!

    This grace thing is so totally important. " The most important truth in the world, said John, is not our trying harder to love God or others, but God’s action of love for us." [from the linked article] Yes, yes, yes! That's IT!

    I love what you say about the conventional idea of hell: "God seems so much more creative than that."

  2. Mike - yes, yes, yes. That's IT :)

    Barbara - no worries. I think we all need it a lot :)

    Kent - yes, it is :)


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