When we hear or read the word grace, different images come to mind:
- A girl we know from school
- The elegance of movement
- A word of prayer
- Handling pressure with dignity
- A kindness bestowed on another
- A free period or a period of forgiveness
Recklessness doesn’t normally come to mind at all. Grace seemingly is about being nice…kind…generous…nice.
Yet you can’t read too far into the Jesus story until you come face to face with a grace that is not only nice…and kind…and generous…but also downright radically and recklessly unfair…and maddeningly so.
The grace Jesus offers is messy. It’s offered to the wrong kinds of people. It’s offered freely to anyone and everyone.
- The sower recklessly and lavishly throws seed all over the place, with little regard for the soil on which it lands
- The father of the prodigal son lavishes grace upon grace before his son—who wished his father dead—can apologize
- And then lavishes grace upon his undeserving, judgmental, critical older son
- Traitors like tax collectors are invited in
- Outcasts like lepers are included
Jesus’ utter disregard for the decorum of grace scandalized the religious of his day…and continues to do so today.
Because God is absolutely, utterly reckless with grace. Through Jesus God splashes grace everywhere…onto saint and sinner alike. God sows the seeds of transformative grace onto every soil/heart imaginable, with no regard for propriety.
As Martin Luther put it, aligning his theology with a God of reckless, lavish grace: Be careful of aspiring to such purity that you no longer wish to be looked upon or considered a sinner. For Christ dwells only in sinners.
It’s unfair. It’s reckless. It’s lavish. It’s scandalous. It’s offered to the wrong kinds of people. It’s grace.
And isn’t that good news?