grace enough

Have you seen People of the Second Chance's NEVER BEYOND campaign? It is powerful.

Each week, they launch a new poster in their NEVER BEYOND series, representing a well-known historical, current, or fictional character who is believed to have harmed society. They stand as challenging and sometimes startling reminders that none of us are ever beyond a second chance.

I've been forced to grapple with my tendency to be stingy with grace and to cling tightly to unforgiveness.

Because if I'm being most honest, there are some people I feel I can't forgive.

And there are some I simply don't want to forgive.

But maybe that's just me...

Extending grace -- to others as well as myself -- doesn't come naturally to me.

But maybe that's just me too...

Although I have a feeling it's true for all of us, in one way or another...

Since the NEVER BEYOND campaign started, I've had a nagging thought at the back of my mind. It sits there, gnawing and scratching, and I just can't shake it. My thought?

September 11th.


My heart sinks even now, just writing out that date.

There are so many emotions, piling up, adding to the heavy weight in my heart...

I wish I was in New York with my family today...

I can't help but play out the events over and over again in my mind... So awful and so horrifying...

I remember our family friend who died that day, as one of the first FDNY firemen on the scene...

I keep thinking of my friend who lost her brother-in-law in the Pentagon...

And how helpless and paralyzing it felt to be halfway around the world in Africa when it all happened...

But underneath it all, my heart is wrestling. With grace. Forgiveness. Second chances.

Because, you see, I have this unarticulated internal hierarchy of sins...

A hierarchy which says Osama bin Laden and the terrorists behind the September 11th attacks are worse than me.

They are, right?

They have to be!

But then I remember all the ways I've sinned just today, just since I opened my eyes this morning. And I remember that, like Paul, I'm the chief of sinners.

I am.

I have more in common with the Osamas of the world than I'd like to admit, but the truth is undeniable: I need grace no less than they do, and I deserve it no more than they do.

There is no hierarchy of sin in God's mind. Sin is sin, plain and simple. And He paid the price for it, once and for all.

If there isn't enough grace for Osama, there isn't enough grace for me.

Because there are no two sides to grace.

It is never deserved, but always needed.

By all of us. No matter what.

That's what makes it so scandalous, so amazing.

So today, on one of the hardest of days, I am choosing to be generous with grace.

Because grace was generous with me.