Understanding Grace?

Roman’s teacher is a wonderful, godly Christian with a tender heart towards her students, that includes a concern not only for their education but also for their spiritual maturity. She is also intensely practical and as such has begun to teach her class the meaning of words that in some cases have become so spiritualized as to have very little meaning in common life. But she recognizes that for the believer the common life is the spiritual life, and thus the language of one should be the language of the other. For example, she tells them that she is going to “bless” them with a little gift from the prize box. And when she extends favor, kindness, and love in situations that demand judgement, she tells them she is showing “grace.”

Now I know this kind of teaching is striking home for Roman because he often brings it up and tells me about things that happened at school and how the teacher “showed grace.”  It provides wonderful opportunities for deeper discussion. The other morning as he was getting his snow pants on for heading out the door he said to me, “Mom, I kind of do and I kind of don’t understand grace.”

Hmmmm…that about describes all of us. I thought. Out loud I said, “What do you mean?”

“Well,” he began. “I know grace is when you get something you don’t deserve. So when Jesus died on the cross….he didn’t deserve that. But was that grace?”

“Ah, well grace is getting something good when you don’t deserve it. So when Jesus died on the cross, he was giving grace, not receiving it, because when he died he gave he suffered something terrible that he didn’t deserve in order to give us something good that we don’t deserve. He gave us the chance to be forgiven of our sins and live forever in heaven.”

What a moment to explore and ponder the cost of grace. I know he can’t possibly conceive of it all at 5. I can’t conceive of it all. And neither can any of us. But it’s worth meditating on. Grace, that good gift we don’t deserve that is given to us so freely, cost Jesus in great measure, greater than we can ever comprehend. What he went through in the cross, he didn’t deserve, but he took it, in order to give us what we can’t ever deserve. Now that’s grace!

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