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  • Writer's pictureLES HENSON

Frightening Grace

For the believer, grace is a simple yet complex word. It is, in one sense, easy to grasp, yet in another, we may seek to understand the idea for years and only absorb a portion of its magnitude. Grace as a concept is at odds with the world in which we live. It is counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. It contradicts much of what makes sense to us. Ideas like, "You get what you deserve," "You reap what you sow," and even, "What goes around comes around." Grace exists in dialectical tension with itself and who we are as human beings, for grace is free, yet it costs us everything. It is undeserved, yet we desperately try to earn it. Grace is to be experienced instead defined, yet we fight against embracing it. Perhaps we are frightened of it because we are no longer in control once we embrace grace. However, God pours his grace upon us when he takes control, and we relinquish our rights to hold on to our sin, our screw-ups and power over our lives. Yet it is also true that although grace is scary, "Grace creates liberated laughter. The grace of God . . . is beautiful and it radiates joy and awakens humour", writes Karl Barth.

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