When I find myself, on my annual Lenten Journey, this close to the cross I often contemplate that wonderful gift from God, which is God’s Grace.
As I often turn to my favorite book, “Crazy Talk, A Not-So-Stuffy Dictionary of Theological Terms,” I am delighted to introduce to you “Duh.” The thing about Duh, is that Duh just doesn’t get it. No matter how well you explain it, or how clearly you paint the picture, Duh just doesn’t get it.
We all know people like Duh. Truth is, we all have a little Duh in each of us. The following is a conversation between Duh and God.
But first, this definition of Grace: The Free gift in which God gives all—eternal life, forgiveness, purpose, meaning—to human beings, who respond by trying to earn it. One time God was trying to explain grace to Duh:
Duh: God, the Bible says we are “justified by your grace as a gift” (Romans 3:24). Since I want to be justified, how do I get this grace?
God: Well, Duh, grace is not something I give you so that you can be saves; it is the way that I save you. Grace is the way that I accept you, the way that I love you. Grace means that I love you not because of anything you do, but just because I love you. Grace means that I save you from death and give you eternal life as a free gift—you don’t have to do anything in order to be saved.
Duh: Okay. I get that I don’t have to do something to have a relationship with you. But what if I have done something really bad—like committed murder, or adultery, or burned down my neighbor’s house just because. What if I have broken every one of the 10 Commandments many times?
God: Same thing. Grace means that I love you even if you have done something really bad. Grace means that there is nobody who has done anything so that I still don’t love them. Grace means that even adulterers and murderers are my children.
Duh: So I don’t have to do anything to be saved, and there is nothing I can do to stop you from saving me. But what about after I am saved? Don’t I have to quit sinning?
God: Duh, I know you pretty well. I know that after I save you, you’ll try to change. But I know that until you die, you’ll still be a sinner who sins. I love sinners—I sent my Son to die for sinners, for heaven’s sake!! Grace means that there is nothing you can do to make me stop loving you.
Duh: But what about repentance and faith—don’t I have to repent and have faith?
God: Faith is the way you receive a promise. My grace is a promise: the promise of eternal life, forgiveness, and a relationship with me. The only way to receive a promise is to believe it. Repentance is similar: it is what happens to you when my word reaches you and you realize that you need me. So faith and repentance really aren’t things that you do. My word creates them.
Duh: So you are saying I don’t have to do anything.
Dear friends, always remember in good times or in our current struggles, God loves us, God is with us to see us through our trials, and God’s wonderful gift of grace abounds!!! Armed with God’s grace, hang in there, go in peace to love and serve the Lord!
Thanks be to God!