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The Inconvenient Nature of Grace

I do want to do good. I want to be defined by my ability to offer second chances, to show grace to nasty situations, and be a person that responds quickly in love. However, I’m constantly battling the same thing.  This thing could easily be stated as a question.

When an opportunity comes for me to show grace, or maybe the situation is screaming for me to give a second chance, or maybe I’m convicted deep within my heart to act quickly to extend love to an unloveable person…I’m confronted with this question somewhere down in my heart and mind.

“Is this  convenient  right now?”

What a stupid question.  I’m not saying that I verbally say this to myself, or even articulate my thoughts to think this question.  What I do is use this question as the filter through which I make all grace that comes from me pass through.  It’s a lousy self-centered filter, but nonetheless the Inconvenient Nature of Grace is difficult to overcome.

The Inconvenient Nature of Grace is a struggle for me, because at it’s heart the question of whether something is convenient for me is important.  There are many varieties of the question:

Can I afford this financially right now?

What will my wife say if I do this without talking to her first?

Do I have a family commitment to make right now?

Is this really a part of my job description?

All of these questions are good to ask for most situations, but to be a person defined by giving second chances, extending grace, and reflecting God’s heart to teh world…I have to move beyond it.  And beyond it quickly.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

That’s my confession.  What keeps you from quickly showing Grace when the situation calls for it?  Admit it.  What’s your filter?

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Jared M · April 12, 2011

    I know it seems counterintuitive, but one question that I constantly have to fight off is, “Does this person deserve grace?” I know, the whole point of grace is that none of us desrve it, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking it. I’m able to move past it more quickly than I used to, but I am working towards not even thinking it. Maybe I’ll get there someday.