Kathi and I have been spending the last couple of days talking about safe places of grace – those churches, homes, families and people you long to be with – where it is ok that you can’t bring anything to the table, where you are listened to and not condemned for your unbelief in the gospel to help in that moment of struggle, where agendas don’t exist, where your true identity in Christ is affirmed, and laughter and silliness abound – a place where grace pours out on others because it has been poured out on us.
We all long for those places and are continually seeking them out. We look for people who can be that for us, we look for churches and communities where the atmosphere is thick with grace. The problem comes, though, when we can’t find it. What do we do? How do we cultivate that where we are?
It isn’t top-down, grass-roots, or programmatic. It is doing it right here, right now with where God has you. It is rooted in humility and an outpouring of thankfulness to God for the mercy and grace that He shows us. Out of that, grace will begin to seep through our phone conversations, our talks at the dining room table with our spouses, our listening to the teenager struggling with performance, and the single person battling loneliness – all because we have the Gospel at the center of who we are and everything we do.
If we desire safe places of grace in our home, church, work place, communities and friends, we have to begin by being that safe place for others. We look in to others eyes and listen to their hurts. We ask them questions about how their struggle with contentment shows an unbelief in the gospel and then point them to what Christ has already provided for them. We laugh with them. We drink wine together. We watch movies together and then talk about them. We desire to drive beneath the problem presenting itself to what is really going on within their soul. We ask them questions about where they are getting their value and significance. We don’t hold each other accountable – we remind each other that our identity is found in Christ and not in our failures – now go live like who you really are and stop believing the lie.