A show of grace when we drop the ball
Ever notice how quickly sports enthusiasts want to remove someone when their team loses a game? Many a fan cries out for the ousting of players, coaches, referees, even owners. We can sound like the fabled Queen of Hearts, shouting "Off with their heads!"
Our limited tolerance with players may stem from the skill we expect from them each week. The player may have tried hard to fulfill their responsibility, but they just couldn’t make it happen. But we do not judge on intention, we want results. It doesn’t matter how motivated they might be to do the job, we want performance. Therefore, do it right or be replaced.
Ever wonder if God feels this way about us? He forgives us of our sins, fills us with His Holy Spirit, empowering and enlightening us to follow after Him, yet we drop the ball far too often. Our performance in no way reflects what the position requires. Does God cry out in exasperation, "Throw the bum out!"
Not really. The good news is God has greater patience than we do. In place of calling for our eternal removal He extends grace. Where this does not give us a license to live sloppily in sin, it does provide mercy when we are not at the top of our game.
It has a lot to do with intention. If we are sincere in our spiritual efforts, God takes that into account. With God the motive is every bit as important as the results.
Pastor Mark Holmes is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and has served the Darrow Road Wesleyan Church since 1997.