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“Grace Is Not About Being Fair”

January 31, 2012

Spencer Perkins

Fourteen years ago last week Spencer Perkins suddenly passed into heaven.  Over the years since, I have met many people who were in the audience during his final talk, three days before he died.  Spencer’s words are sealed in our memory, and they rip light into a world of polarization and destructive conflict — from the “big stuff” to the people near us everyday who are so difficult to love.  May we reach for the new land Spencer tasted, the “culture of grace”:

“Grace is not about being fair.  We wouldn’t demand fairness from God – at least I know I wouldn’t.  What’s so amazing about grace is that God forgives us and embraces us with open arms, even though we don’t deserve it.  And because we are grateful for what God did for us, we allow God to do the same to others through us.  We must continue to speak and act on behalf of those who are oppressed.  But my willingness to forgive oppressors is not dependent on how they respond.  Being able to extend grace and to forgive people sets us free.  When we can forgive and embrace those who refuse to listen to God’s command to do justice, it allows them to hear God’s judgment without feeling a personal judgment from us.  Which, in the end, gives our message more integrity.  Being able to give grace while preaching justice will make our witness even more effective.  And the world will take notice.”   — Spencer Perkins, January 24, 1998

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