If you have been following my blog, you will know that I have been writing about God’s grace for several blogs now…. and I had ended my last blog with a “teaser” that I would next write about how God’s grace protected my heart from bitterness. But — I’ll need to save that for another time (and blog) because in this blog I am going to address another aspect of grace and—also reveal the “foreshadow” I talked about in my first blog. (Remember, in writing, a foreshadow is a hint of things to come later. And … “later” is now!)
My pastor would be so proud of me because if you’ve been reading my blog you may have caught that I used alliteration in my sharing about God’s grace. First there was Saving grace, then Sanctifying grace, and the last post, Sustaining grace. I’ll continue that format for one more blog. This blog, I want to talk about Sharing God’s grace. (I know — I broke the pattern — 3 words instead of two.)
When we have received and been abundantly blessed by God’s saving, sanctifying, and sustaining grace, then we need to be equipped and willing to share God’s grace with
others. No, I’m not talking about witnessing, or telling people about God’s grace, but rather extending or demonstrating God’s grace to others, especially to those it may be difficult to extend grace to.
John, the beloved disciple, in his gospel, describes Jesus this way: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) “Full of grace and truth.” Roman 8:29 tells us God’s plan for us after he has saved us by his grace is to continue his work of sanctifying grace and conform us to the image or likeness of Jesus Christ. That means God wants us, Jesus’ followers, to be people who are full of grace and truth — that our words and lives demonstrate grace to others in the same way God has demonstrated grace to us and in the same way Jesus demonstrated grace and compassion to people when he was here on earth.
Do you remember a recent blog about living up to my name? Ann – “gracious one” or full of grace. Going back in time about 20 years, if you had asked me, I would have thought I was doing a pretty good job of living up to my name. I tried to be “nice” or gracious to the people around me…and to be honest, it wasn’t too hard because my “circle” of friends and acquaintances were pretty much all Christians and believed and lived like I did.
But on Easter Sunday, 1992, my comfortable Christian world was unexpectedly upended by the bombshell announcement from my son, Dan, that he was gay and his roommate was actually his homosexual partner. This totally unanticipated revelation quickly revealed to me how little I understood how to demonstrate grace to someone who was living in a lifestyle that was so foreign to me and identified as sinful by God’s Word, even though it was my own son whom I loved very much. The mental and emotional struggle began: How could my son be gay? And what kind of relationship could I have with him? I knew the Bible condemned homosexual behavior so if I continued to show my love and affection to my son, would he interpret that as acceptance of his homosexual behavior, or if I stood firmly on Biblical truth, would he view that as rejection of him? My desperation drove me to God’s Word. I had to have answers — and God quickly revealed to me that he wanted to teach me to be like Jesus — full of both grace and truth. He could teach me to follow the example Jesus set in the gospels, he could fill me with his grace and empower me by his Spirit, not only to love my son with God’s unconditional love, but he could also equip me to stand firm in the truth of scripture at the same time.
I knew I also needed to learn all I could about the condition of homosexuality from a Christian perspective and God graciously orchestrated events to provide the contacts and information I needed.
God is so amazing and so faithful to use the painful times in our lives for our good and his glory. He took a very painful time in my life and used it to teach me so much about his love and grace, and how I was to extend grace to my son Dan — and his partners — in the same way God had extended his grace to me. He also showed me it was possible, by his enabling to extend love and compassion to my son, his partners, and other gay people without compromising the truth of God’s Word.
A few years ago, I was asked by the acquisition editor of a Christian publishing company to consider writing a book—telling Dan’s and my story—to help families and Christians in general to know how to respond to someone who is gay, particularly if it is a loved one or friend. The book, entitled If I Tell You I’m Gay, Will You Still Love Me? One Mother’s Journey to Truth and Grace, has recently been published by CrossBooks. The book, written with my son’s full knowledge and support, is now available on the following websites: CrossBooks, Amazon, and Barnes and Nobles and there may be others I don’t know about yet. It is my prayer God will use the book to help those struggling with this issue and to help Christians respond to those who are gay with love and compassion, while standing true to Biblical truth. Check it out!
Now the “foreshadow” has been revealed.