We are a competitive culture, aren’t we?
We work really hard.
We are creatures of the Protestant work ethic, and most of the outflow is good; we give our best, we aim for excellence, we want to be all we can be.
You know the drill …
But, when this effort-laden way of life is carried into our faith, things get a bit twisted.
We start to think we can supplement grace.
We start to think we SHOULD supplement grace.
We start to think we MUST supplement grace.
What a slap in the face to grace.
Bishop Desmond Tutu, the South African priest with the most delightful laugh, brings this mentality to its knees:
“We too often feel that God’s love for us is conditional like our love for others.
We have made God in our own image rather than seeing ourselves in God’s image.
We have belittled God’s love and turned our lives into an endless attempt to prove our worth.
Ours is a culture of achievement, and we carry over these attitudes to our relationship with God. We work ourselves to a frazzle trying to impress everyone including God. We try to earn God’s approval and acceptance.
We cannot believe that our relationship with God, our standing before God, has got nothing to do with our performance.”(Bishop Desmond Tutu, 1931-2021)
I wonder what life might look like if we really, really believed grace was enough …