Rippling Grace to a Graceless World

The news continually brings the world’s burdens right to my hands as my fingers tap from story to story. I can go from extremes in my emotions from wanting to run to safety to being tempted to lash out in anger from all the injustice, evil, and biased media. There seems to be so little grace in the world. A wise woman recently said to let the news guide my prayer. I like that — a much better response than being defensive, hateful, worried or hopeless. But what is the hope for this graceless world?

Grace all around Me

On top of a rock with a 360 view of God’s grandeur I cannot help but marvel in the lavishness, creativity, and power God has bestowed on creation and shared with me. You have similar moments– the kind that silence your words, in which you attempt to capture and share, or that, bring you a little closer to heaven. I had several of these lately. There was the rock in Colorado, then there was the moment I paused in the cool shade as I watched my four boys enjoying one another at the lake (A few day’s vacation at a friends lake house was a true gift to my family.), and then there was the deep orange full moon dazzling the night sky the other evening. Each making grace-gift deposits in my life– they are all around me, tangible reminders that lavish love and grace are central to God’s character.

On the rock I stopped and it was clear: a graceless world needs the graciousness of God.

Keep this in mind when reading the News

God knows and has provides something very powerful. It is found in a word which has been swirling around in my mind after every bit of news, every conflict, disaster and outrage. This word has the ability to change things up close and faraway. There are many responses and many good responses, but this word gives the needed substance for a helpful response, and guidance for the way I live and interact with others. The media doesn’t seem to mention this word or discuss its possible impact. It is too bad. For it is the only thing I keep coming back to which I know can extend grace and could change the news. And that is the word, “image.”

Image Bearing Power

Image. This word, ignited and initiated by God, has power. For in His image, the image of God, each person was created. God’s fingerprint on each person. Stop and let that sink in for just a second. Each person created by God. How could this change the news I read?

God is.
God creates.
God creates people in His image.
I have great value. He says so.
You have great value. He says so.
They have great value. He says so.

The Image Giver

If I start with God, instead of tagging Him in the picture later, it changes things, gives power and possibilities. For some reason God chose to create people in His image and said this was very good. God initiated it. God gives people their intrinsic value– not because of what they do, but because of who they are– ones He created in His image.

Some how, some way, as an image bearer I reflect the Image Giver. It may be in the way I have personality, thought and reason. It may be in the way that I can make moral choices, have authority and in even in my ability to feel things deeply. I have the ability to have compassion and empathy, along with anger and a need for justice. It is certainly in the way I have the ability to love God and unconditionally love others.

Image reflects the Giver. Can I see it? Do I look for it? Often it seems clouded, but it is there.

The Ripple Effect

What would it look like if there were more grace in the world? Would there be change? Hope? Peace? Rest? Augustine said,

You made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in you.

There is an answer to the restlessness of the world.

By God stamping His image on us He places us in a unique position to have great influence. I can see each person with value now– no matter whether I agree or disagree, no matter the cultural differences, or if I like the person or not. I can be a curious person of another’s life. Each person is to be valued and given dignity because they are God’s image bearer. They are to be treated as such.

As image bearers we are also to be people who reflects the Image Giver. When we encounter the grace of God, it gives our “image bearing” power. I am able to interact with people and love people in a way that others see the graciousness of God. It may seem impossible, but Jesus bridges this impossible gap to make things once impossible possible through His Spirit. He reconciles all things.

It is by God’s grace that I can give grace.

Saving a Graceless World

There are lots of good possible responses to the daily news. But ultimately, grace brings rest to the restless world. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus speak to our longing for grace and our need for rest. As image bearers who have received grace at great cost we must speak the gospel of grace. Often we forget it is not just in our actions but it is also in words. We are not meant to stand in safety or live in disgust, but to ripple God’s grace to a graceless world.

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