“There are no together people, only those who dress better”, or as Bruce says, “…only those with brighter teeth.” Everyone needs grace all the time. Everyone needs to live out of their new identity all the time. No exceptions. There are no other types of people. But, there are different applications from hearing the message of grace, depending upon our backgrounds, exposure and upbringing.
When we speak on college campuses, after the messages, some students will always hang back, waiting until almost everyone else has left. They will then, unsuccessfully, try to get outwords, through deep sighs and sobbing. They have either never heard these truths or they are, for the first time, hearing life they way they’ve dreamt it could be and the opposite of what they’ve experienced.
But sometimes, students from really healthy, grace-filled homes encounter a message they’ve seen modeled most of their lives. Their responses are often quite different. One of those students wrote me a note last week:
“Mr. Lynch, (I like this kid)
I was raised in a healthy grace filled home. I have some of the most amazing parents on the planet, but I didn’t realize that until I began learning of the brokenness of the souls around me…I have been given the tools required to heal after getting hurt. During high-school, I knew several people who were “emotional.” I knew that there wasn’t anything wrong with emotion, but I knew that there was something wrong with their emotion. Then here at college, I learned that many of them were simply trying to play a broken instrument without the full understanding what the music sounds like from an instrument that is in complete working order.
This brings me to where I was sitting at lunch, listening to your discussion. The whole time I was thinking about my roommate. The guy doesn’t know who God is. He doesn’t know what a Christian is. He thinks he does. He was raised in the church. I don’t have to tell you what he thinks of the church because you are already aware of how ignorant and self-righteous we make ourselves look.
I want my roommate to know Christ. I want him to know who God is. With my background, it’s hard for me to articulate grace because it’s something that was instilled and not taught. Sitting and listening to you articulate grace has helped me a great deal. I have been able to relate grace to my roommate through lifestyle, but I haven’t felt capable of explaining it to him, and your talk has helped me to order some thoughts in my head.
…I’m not there yet. It’s going to take me a long time to deliver this message fully to my roommate. I’m not just going to sit down with him and explain it in an hour and then have him completely turn his life around during a whirlwind of emotion and epiphany. It’s a lesson he’s going to learn slowly and I have to “teach” it day-by-day. I would appreciate your prayer as I make my way through this last semester with him, before I graduate in May.
We never get “past” needing to hear the message of grace and identity for ourselves. But sometimes, we get to see the message through the eyes of others and their desperate need for these truths. In fact, once experienced it’s the first response we often have: “Everyone I know needs this! I must begin to learn to not just bask in having experienced it, I must learn how to articulate this way of life.” Those are the words of someone entering a pretty incredible journey of watching God release the captives.