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7 Kinds of graceless people

You don’t have to look too far on the web to find people who have issues with me. “He quotes people who aren’t Christians,” they say. And if you want to criticize me on this blog, I’m not going to delete you. Criticism can be helpful and hey, it keeps me humble. But a critic’s life is lonely and …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
You don’t have to look too far on the web to find people who have issues with me. “He quotes people who aren’t Christians,” they say. And if you want to criticize me on this blog, I’m not going to delete you. Criticism can be helpful and hey, it keeps me humble. But a critic’s life is lonely and graceless. I have been a critic and a cynic and it’s no way to live.
 
Some folks are so focused on being self-appointed “protectors of the truth” that they miss Jesus’ point. Jesus, quoting Isaiah, said he came to set the captives free.*
 
Freedom from what? Gracelessness for one thing. Phil Yancy calls it “ungrace.” Grace is what most distinctively sets Jesus’ followers apart from other human beings. Doing good to those who mistreat you is so counter-intuitive that Jesus calls it a “narrow road” that not many can walk on. He describes this grace-path in his very first public talk.**
 
The Islamic path of jihad or the Crusader’s path of holy war is the more natural way. If someone is different or a threat to your belief system, just hurt them – they are diminished and you, as the defender of the truth, are ascendent.
 
You can see the people who are not walking on the narrow road by the way they live. Jesus describes seven kinds of graceless people:

People who have to be right, always arguing.

Fault-finders who talk about other people behind their backs.

Selfish people.

 

People who have a sour, negative spirit.
People who perpetually criticize.
 
LEGALISTS who haven’t graduated from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
Angry people.
We used to be this way, but then Jesus set us free. He says if we’ve been set free, then we are free indeed. You know you’re a Christian not by some words you repeated or your attendance record at church. You know it by the fruit of your life – grace.
 
Does grace characterize your life? Swimming in grace is a great way to live. Today is a good day to repent of the right-and-wrong thinking that leaves you never measuring up. And don’t just repent to God – repent to someone who needs more grace than you’ve given them. Dive into freedom. Dive into grace.
 
 

Comments (5)

  • Thanks for writing this Seth. I was reminded of the importance of this again last week at CRI training. One of the coordinators encouraged us to keep a stash of grace cards in our pockets to hand out when the need arises.

    We didn’t have any physical cards to carry, but somehow just imagining they were there made it easier to extend grace. Whenever a situation arose, I would imagine myself handing the person a grace card and smile. Then I would hand myself one to for having been so easily offendable in the first place, knowing that I too am still a work in progress.

    Funny thing, my deck kept getting bigger because for every on I gave away, I probably got at least two back.

  • Great idea, Kim. I may do that in the future to help people move from majoring on truth to majoring on grace. The truth sets us free, but grace keeps us free.

  • ‘We used to be this way, but then Jesus set us free’ . . . and what an ugly place it was!!

    Thanks for the great reminder that what we have been so freely given we need to in turn freely give!

  • Very well written. I love how grace can daily change us from what we “once were” to instead reflect the Holy Spirit’s great work in making us “Christ-like”.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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