My wife and I have a special place in our hearts for the show Les Miserables. We have seen the Broadway production twice, own the movie and I think two copies of the book. My favorite character is Javert. I love how he is black and white. He sees himself as the law and as such things are either legal or illegal. To him it doesn't matter why a person broke the law but simply that the law was broken. He is summed up in this quote "Save your breath and save your tears, Honest work. Just reward. That's the way to please the Lord." He is a pharisee; plain and simple, some one who loves the law. The saddest thing about his character is that in his zeal for the law there is no room for grace. In fact when he is shown grace he can't understand it and is incapable of handling it. His only recourse was to deny the grace Val Jean extended him, and take his own life.
This has got me thinking about grace. As we seek to make more of grace, must our worldview become less black and white? Does embracing grace decrease the firmness with which we can stand? I don't know what those answers are... but I do know that the more I learn to embrace grace, the more grace must change me. The more I must rely on it. The more I must draw on it. The more grace must change how I interact with the world around me.
A few weeks ago I was talking to some students about living a life that is imitatable. The general response was, that all things considered, their lives were "better" than most. The "all things considered" being that no one can live up to Christ and they weren't as bad as some. I challenged them to make Christ the measuring stick of their lives, not other people. This got me thinking about a game of horseshoes I was playing. I noticed that as I was throwing the horseshoes, they had a tendency to fall to the right. So instead of adjusting my throwing motion to hit the mark, I stepped to the left and changed the spot I was aiming at. I didn't hit the mark. In fact, I just had to keep moving around and changing my target. It was easy to feel like I was still doing good. I was still scoring points, and I even won a few rounds. That was only because I was getting close to the stake, but not hitting it.
Isn't that what life with Christ is like! We aim to become like him, but over time we start looking left and right. We lose the mark and become comfortable with just hitting the target and being closer to the bulls-eye than others. We get comfortable with sin, you know that area between us and the bulls-eye. Just like in that game of horseshoes, I/we need to take a moment to fix our aim back on the mark. We need to adjust our throwing motion, so that we can become less comfortable with the sin in our life.