Following up on my last article, I’m using my will today to think more about Grace (not the wildly popular sitcom show “Will and Grace,” which would indeed serve as a good diving board to jump into the current pool of national buzz related to gay marriage and lifestyles 😐 ). In this article, I want to address what is really an even more important subject that we all face and need to come to understand in order to properly apply in our lives. What I am discussing today is Law and Grace.
Law and Grace are two opposite things that serve as counter weights to each other. Whatever rule or law we follow at any given moment becomes a pole on one side that is then balanced out in our life by some type of grace pole on the other side, grace being proved necessary seeing we are living in an imperfect, fallen world. Law and structure allows us to plan and strive for goals. Grace puts up with failures to live up to that law and allows growth toward it to continue. If you get out of balance on one side or the other here, your life will be out of order and you will either become very discouraged or very angry. The degree to which you are balanced here is the degree to which you will overcome the many trials and troubles in life.
There are many responses to the trials and tragedies people face. I have seen the various responses from law enforcement officers I have met throughout my trials and personal tragedy. I remember one law officer coming down very hard on me and wanting to handcuff me (he did) while on the way to my third involuntary commitment, even though I was not resisting and was supposed to have the right to not be handcuffed, as I pointed out to him. He didn’t talk much, but I did find out he was one of the first responders on the scene on 04-16-07—the day of the Virginia Tech Tragedy. His response was to come down hard and try to enforce the full extent of the law that he could. He was not willing to show any grace. I feel for this man, even though I was the one being handcuffed, as he has set himself up for much disappointment, until he learns to extend more grace. Another law officer I met was so loose in his interaction with me, that his means of extended grace could have been dangerous, were I a person to take advantage of that grace. Do you see through these examples more of what I am talking about with law and grace?
Law is what it is. Law does not have feelings. You are either in compliance or you are not. There is no room to redefine law, though people do try. Law is usually written or at least communicated as a rule in a matter of fact way. The authority that lays down the law expects those listening or accountable to that authority to comply. Grace gives room. Grace considers circumstances that make obedience to the law difficult or impossible and even withholds any penalty for not keeping the law. Grace allows for imperfection or noncompliance to whatever law is being promoted. Do you see how these two things play against each other? Do you see the importance of having both?
There are natural laws that govern the way things work that each of us must learn to comply with. If you try to deny the force of gravity, you will pay a price for that. If you touch something that is hot, without some barrier to protect you, you will get burned. Reality is defined by the natural laws that govern how we learn to live. There are also spiritual laws that govern the way we live or most certainly will when we die. There is a spiritual reality or law that must also be obeyed. The stark consequences for the noncompliance with spiritual law are eternal death and separation from GOD.
Fortunately for us, GOD is not only a GOD of Law, but also of Grace. There is nothing wrong with GOD’s Law, but there is a problem with us always obeying it. None of us is perfect there, so that means we are guilty before GOD (c.f. James 2:10). The solution to not obeying GOD’s Law and still avoiding the consequences (eternal separation and punishment in hell) is to find the Grace of GOD through the Person of Jesus Christ. Forgiveness is possible through His Sacrifice, but is only applied individually when the guilty person accepts His Grace.
So, you have Law and Grace; how are they playing out in your life?