GUILTY OF BEING TOO GRACIOUS

I love the bible study group that meets in our home on Monday nights. It’s a time when we really dig deep into challenging thoughts and spiritual concepts. We’ve read through Phillip Yancy’s book, “What’s so Amazing about Grace?” What an amazing book! Last night our study dealt with this difficult concept:

  • How do we treat people that we strongly disagree with over moral or spiritual issues? How do you treat people that are living their lives contrary to God’s word?

There are a lot of issues that have ended friendships and divided churches. Issues like…

  • abortion,
  • homosexuality,
  • sin,
  • instrumental music,
  • baptism,
  • divorce,
  • remarriage,
  • the Holy Spirit,
  • and the list could go on and on.

So, how should we treat people that we greatly differ with? Is the answer in boycotts? Protests? Pickets? Church splits and divisions? Full page ads in the local paper to voice our disgust to the entire world?

It doesn’t require much work to be gracious towards someone you agree with, but it takes lots of grace to continue a relationship with someone you do disagree with. Maybe we should ask ourselves, how did Jesus treat the morally impure? How did Jesus act around those whose lives were contrary to what God wanted? A prostitute, a wealthy exploiter, a Samaritan with several husbands, a woman caught in adultery – all people that Jesus would have had a problem with their lifestyle. Yet all found grace and mercy from Jesus. No wonder Jesus gained the reputation as being a “friend of sinners.” Maybe we can learn a lot about how to treat people we disagree with by watching Jesus in action.

I will continue to stand for what’s taught in God’s word, and I will simply show to others the same grace and show the same mercy that God has shown me. Or as Helmut Thielicke once wrote: “To truly love a person means to see him as God intended him to be.”

The Bible tells us that we’ll be shown the same mercy in judgement that we’ve shown to others while here on earth (James 2:13). So I’ve decided that, if I must err on either being too hard or too merciful on others, I want to stand before God guilty of being too merciful and too gracious.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
26 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Anonymous says:

    WOW, I have thought this for years, but practicig it is another matter. Keep on Blogging, we love it.

    T.A.

  2. TREY MORGAN says:

    T.A. – I’ve loved you since I’ve known you. You have always set an excellent example to me in being gracious.

  3. merry says:

    Loved that book. Our small group study of it really caused many of us, esp my husband and I, to take a close look at how we were living out the doctrine of grace.

  4. Dwight Whitsett says:

    Trey, excellent post! How many problems solved, how many crises avoided, how many rifts repaired, how many wounded healed if we would just follow the example of the Master. Very well said.

  5. johndobbs says:

    Amen. I decided this also a few years ago … you presented the case well.

  6. preacherman says:

    Wonderful post brother!
    I have grown in my faith this last year and know that God’s grace is bigger than we can ever imagine. I pray for unity and peace within the body of Christ. I pray that we will understand it is up to God to judge the hearts of men and that we will be kingdom people that show the Characteristics of Christ in every aspect of our lives.
    God bless you brother for this wonderful post and topic.
    May God’s blessings fall on you, your family and ministry as you strive to do His will.
    In Him,
    Kinney Mabry
    1 Tim 4:12

  7. Brie says:

    That whole “Golden Rule” thing can be so hard sometimes. Our old preacher used to say that we as humans tend to “want grace for me, and justice for everyone else.” It’s too bad that so often the things that I don’t want to do are the things that I do, and the ones that I do want to do are the things that I don’t.

    In the meantime, the complete waste of money spent on things like ::cough:: full-page ads is very sad to me. The amount of money recently spent on an ad in a local paper here would have supported a missionary for a year in most places. Why do we insist on doing Satan’s work for him sometimes?

  8. Falantedios says:

    Oh Trey,

    You are so right, but sometimes it hurts so badly. I don’t mean to whine, and I’m not suggesting that the pain will shake my allegiance to the God of Israel, my faith in Jesus (where else can I go?), but how do you deal with the pain of trying to love someone who believes you damned to hell because of your disagreement?

    I know I’m not infallible, and I know they’re not either. But what if they’re right?

    That’s when it hurts… me anyway…

  9. doug young says:

    Trey,

    We discredit ourselves and the cause of Christ when we suggest through our actions that we cannot reason with people without being vituperative.

    It is saddening, but I think political agendas have merged with religious agendas and they are now merely called “moral agendas.”

    We have adopted the political approach, which today lacks civility, and even push to criminalize sins that do not violate another person’s right to life, liberty or property.

    In certain respects, we have adopted a “Catholic” mindset that suggests certain sins are worse than others. Homosexuality is one example. Throw in our inability to function, person to person, in a sinful world and its fairly easy to see why the Lord’s people are in the mess they are in.

    If we are really going to be Christians, then we really need to concentrate on emulating JESUS!

  10. Stephanie says:

    I really enjoyed this post…I know that in every faith there are some differences…and as I grow and get wiser …. I try to understand them more… It doesn’t make me change what I believe in…and sometimes makes my faith even stronger… I love the post…and yes…you said it correctly….and who are we to judge…we just need to live our lives like we ought to live them…thank you for the post…steph

  11. Justin says:

    Trey,

    I completely agree with what you are saying about grace and mercy. It is difficult sometimes when you see people doing things that they shouldn’t be doing.

    Unfortunately, there is a false grace that is becoming popular in Christianity. The message is being spread that Jesus accepted people’s sins. Having grace and mercy doesn’t mean accepting people’s sins as okay. To me, that is a false grace.

    Jesus said, “Go and sin no more”. He was a friend to the sinners because He forgave them and set them free from the bondage of sin.

    I’m noticing how a lot of Christians have this idea that Jesus was like, “Hey, what’s up? Oh, you’re a prostitute? No problem, whatever makes you happy.” This is a dangerous idea, and false concept of the way Jesus loved the sinners!

    James 5:19

    Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

    God’s mercy and grace is that we can be forgiven, but forgiveness should not be confused with thinking that sin is alright.

    Hope I made sense with this.

  12. Greg says:

    That book literally shook the foundation of my deep southern prejudices and helped me to see those with whom I disagree over political issues in a different perspective.

  13. Falantedios says:

    Justin,

    There is a stellar book by Miroslav Volf on the theology of forgiveness or reconciliation. It’s called Exclusion and Embrace. Simply, we must EXCLUDE the sin from our fellowship AND embrace the broken sinners around us. He too believes that embrace without exclusion is not forgiveness or reconciliation, but rather enabling or tolerance.

    in HIS love,
    Nick Gill

  14. TREY MORGAN says:

    What powerful and rich comments. Thanks to each of you for sharing your thoughts!

  15. Terry says:

    I have nuanced thoughts about this issue. I certainly do not want to be unnecessarily offensive. I don’t want to errect unnecessary barriers in front of people who are hurting or questioning. On the other hand, I want to be firm enough and brave enough to stop someone who is hurting others. I do not want to see a wife abused or a child bullied because I was not firm enough in confronting an abuser. I do not want to hide my cowardice behind an effort to appear gracious when I should do something to protect someone from injustice, instead. This is a difficult concept to grasp and to practice. I need the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of the Scriptures to help me know when to be gracious and when to be willing to make enemies on behalf of those who are hurting and abused. Thanks for an insightful post, Trey!

  16. a husband says:

    Thank you for this post. Your site is an encouragement and you do well at challenging.

    Thank you.

  17. a husband says:

    “Challenging us in serious and in fun” is what I meant to say.

    :o)

  18. Brandon Price says:

    Good post, Trey. I read this book a few years ago and thought it was really great. Maybe Katie and I can swing by your house next Monday for the study!

  19. Tish says:

    G God’s
    R Redemption
    A At
    C Christ’s
    E Expense

    Something my uncle (my pastor) always uses in his sermons.

  20. nedras says:

    Trey, I haven’t read Yancy’s book, but I’m struggling right now with how I understood what I was taught that grace means, and with how I read about how the Godhead handles it in the New Testament.

    Keep people like me in your prayers.

  21. preacherman says:

    Tish,
    I love that!
    It is wonderful isn’t it?

  22. Terry says:

    BTW, I loved “What’s So Amazing About Grace?”. Another classic book by Phillip Yancy would be “The Jesus I Never Know.” He has written some very thought-provoking books. He is a very challenging author.

    I hope you’ve had a blessed day, Trey.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Our lead pastor at my church put in simple terms for me… he says, when Christians huddle together and turn away from the ‘world’, the ‘world forms an opinion of us by what they see of us, a bunch of rears.
    Over simplified you say? Maybe, but it was how I looked the “religious people” when i was not a follower.

    Steve in AZ

  24. Matthew says:

    The way we act in these situations will dictate how the Lord sees us in worship. We should remember that.

  25. Alisha says:

    Thank-you. I have been struggling with this for sometime now. I have often wondered how to show grace to others and how to love others the way God loves them……….I am just beginning to learn and I pray God shows me the way.

  26. David Kirk says:

    May we all be as grace-filled as you are! Have a great day!

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
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