The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for a position in the Supreme Court has not only been ugly, but it has shown the depths of human depravity. With accusations of sexual harassment, many have condemned Brett Kavanagh and indicated that those who do not condemn him also must be advocating harassment. Unfortunately, uninformed decisions, unrestrained discourse, and unalterable dialogue are shown as the character of our nation. We are a nation without grace.
At best, the information we have (at the time of writing this article) is that one person is accusing another of on obscene crime and the accused is denying that. To judge innocence or not based on that information limited information is reckless. But the inclination of so many to have already judged is troubling (you can read the previous discussion by clicking the following link: The Graceless Generation-Part One). It represents a great need for a society to be infused with grace.
In no way should sin be condoned, especially one so severe with such devastating consequences, but God’s character demonstrates a combination of perfect mercy, perfect patience, and perfect justice, and so we must strive for the same. Therefore, we err on the side of grace.
In a graceless society, the situation demonstrates that the statute of limitations is broad with no expiration. One can be shamed and held accountable years later. Furthermore, the prosecution in the court of public opinion is initiated on the concept of perpetual guilt, in other words, guilty until proven innocent. Finally, the verdict seeks nothing more than restitution.
In contrast to a graceless generation, we seek to be a graceful generation that is characterized by the opposite. This includes the following:
The Statute of Limitations: In contrast to a graceless generation, one that is full of grace maintains a statute of limitations that is not broad, but bound. First off, it is bound by the exclusion of personal agenda. One does not maintain a list of wrongs by one person awaiting the time to strike when there is a personal agenda to accomplish. Furthermore, it is also bound by repentance. While certainly sin may impact a relationship, grace does acknowledge when repentance has been made. He is faithful to forgive our sins when we confess (1 John 2:9) an aspect for us to exemplify ourselves. Therefore, sin may be confronted, but it is done so gracefully, not convicting without both evidence and discussion with the individual and also acknowledges one’s repentance.
The Prosecution: Additionally, instead of perpetual guilt, the graceful generation approaches the individual and circumstances with the concept of potential innocence. While acknowledging the fallen state of humanity, grace recognizes does not automatically assume the worse of a person, but instead gives the benefit of the doubt, seeking to judge impartially.
The Verdict:Finally, the verdict under a graceful generation does not seek mere restitution, but restoration. This does not mean that there may not be consequences, but the goal is not to punish. Instead, confrontation of sin seeks to restore relationships (see Matthew 18 and the goal of church discipline).
The graceful generation is the opposite of a graceless generation.
Grace is a vital characteristic to our interaction with a secular society because it not only comes from a love for Christ but also demonstrates a love for Christ. Grace confronts, conducts, and cares. Grace means that one confronts the injustices, the indifference, and the inequities in this world, thus it confronts sin. Yet, at the same time grace conducts our attitudes and actions, therefore not only does grace confront sin, but it also dictates how we confront sin, which is with a love that desires the best for the person and the best for God’s glory. Finally, grace cares for others. It is the true demonstration of compassion by showing who God is. Grace must contain each of these three qualities; caring without confrontation can result in compromise while confronting without conduct is unloving. Therefore, grace needs all three.
While lamenting the current status of society as a graceless generation, believers have an opportunity to be a graceful generation. They stand in stark contrast to the ways of the world by walking in the ways of God so that he may be glorified and that people may be transformed by him. Therefore, we must resist the temptation to succumb to the lack of grace and instead be filled with grace.
In the last two articles, I have shared the characteristics of a graceless generation and the characteristics of a graceful generation. Below is a brief chart of the differences (please refer to the articles for a review of the terms).
The Graceless Generation
The Graceful Generation
Statute of Limitations
Photo “Liberty County Courthouse, Liberty, TX” courtesy of user Patrick Feller and Flickr.