Fingers of Grace

aboutWhy is my default ungrace?

I think of three times the Godhead wrote with fingers. God did it twice on tablets of stone. Moses kept Him from getting by with one copy by shattering set one. Jesus did it once in sand.

The powerful finger of God inscribed on the front and back of two stones a manual of life for Israel. Sure, there were both do’s and don’ts, but at the heart of the document was God’s love for His children. He wanted them to receive His love and grace.

The tablets–written by the finger of God–show the availability of the gift of relationship with God. He asks for allegiance and holy living. The people gave Him neither.

That God would even offer to enter such a relationship with His creation demonstrates—more than I can possibly comprehend—His indescribable grace.

I love the story of Jesus writing in the sand after “righteous men” catch a woman having sexual relations with a man who was not her husband. This sad—yet grace filled—story sets my imagination off on a wild run.

The writer—whoever he is—only describes enough to make his point.

Throughout the gospels church leaders of Jesus’ time badly wanted to catch him in an inconsistency with God’s commands.

The “Love the Lord your God” law didn’t seem to be their reality. Nor did the idea of treating others as anyone would want to be treated enter their minds.

heart in the sandLike The Firm I suspect this was a setup from the beginning. Where is the accomplice? There is no mention of his presence.

It took describing guilt in the sand with his finger to teach a lesson on grace.

In letting my imagination set a possible stage, here is what I imagine might have appeared in the sand.

Could Jesus have written the word ‘adulterers’?

Under the heading of his sand document, he begins to list the names of each offender present, including the time and the place of each encounter. After the first two or three names in the sand, other pious leaders saw what was to come and fled like bolting cats before their name was to appear.

The shame and contriteness of the accused melted into genuine repentance. Jesus draws a symbol of grace across her name. Because of an act of grace she didn’t deserve, she left forgiven and in peace.

None can claim rightness with God without accepting Jesus’ touch of grace.

As I extend my fingers to others in an offering of grace, it is an act where I serve as a conduit for grace power gushing forth from Jesus.

help-othersJesus doesn’t ask me to condone sin. Neither does he invite me into the role of judge. He does ask me to be compassionate.  He does ask me to be his Spirit-powered representative on earth.

Just as I want Jesus to place His hands and finger of grace upon my shoulder during difficult times, He wants me to place my hands and fingers of his grace on those who struggle.

For that matter, He wants me to place my hands and fingers of His grace upon the shoulders of fellow believers during good days as well as tough times.

I can’t help but believe that fingers of grace would go a long way toward healing the disunity that plagues Jesus’ body.

Stay tuned.

Gary J. Sorrells – Reflecting on Cross Church

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