God's grace amazes me! I don't deserve it. I feel like the Apostle Paul who said he was the worst of sinners. I use to rank sins based on how society or even worse the church ranks them. I kept score by wondering why some people who had checkered lives were being used so mightily by God. Why wasn't he using me in the same way? I didn't do all of the stuff they were doing? Of course I was on the outside an awesome Christian. I didn't do any of the "BIG SINS!" But my sin was pride and judgmentalism. I grew up in a Grace filled home. Probably because my dad came from an alcoholic home. He didn't become a follower of Christ until he was a Senior in high school. He could relatate to dysfunctional people because he came from that background. My mom always showed grace to people too. I didn't really understand fully why until last fall when she shared with me that she had been sexually abused as a child by a family member (not my grandfather). I think that is why they showed so much grace to others. Because God had been graceful to them. For me it has been a jouney. I didn't grow up in a dysfunctional home. I had so many blessings and I probably took them for granted. But then I started working in NON-GRACE environments. The first was in college when I was in Campus Outreach. It is a great organization but there was not much grace. I was in a discipleship group and if you didn't do your lesson you got a holy blessing out because of "accountability." My senior year in college they had a prayer time at 5:00 AM and if you didn't come you were a heathen. I didn't know God was awake that early. There were other legalistic things that happened. I had an opportunity to work for my home pastor. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. He gave me my first opportunities to preach. His church was in one of the wealthiest communities in Atlanta and for the world actually. I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, there was no grace! It was a hard 3 years. Becuase of our past relationship, he added job titles and responsiblities on me that were overwhelming. There was no way to win. I was Associate Pastor in Singles, Outreach, Missions, Recreation, etc... The rest of the staff noticed and felt bad for me. It was a very non-grace environment. It was our church and denom against the world. We were right and everyone else was wrong. There was no love and no grace given to the community. I left to start a church that was full of grace. Only to run into more non-grace filled people. Then I moved to Mobile to encounter even more. I would rather err on the side of Grace than to be right and turn someone to satan. I believe in accountability but not telling them they are going to hell, but hey this is what you did wrong, I believe you can do it right! Praise is better than condemnation! Love is better than anger. Grace is better than being right!
posted by Kevin Bussey at 9/29/2005 12:37:00 PM