The Scandal and Beauty of Grace
Jesus came to us full of grace and truth (John 1). And I believe that God's grace is the greatest truth that Christ embodied while among us. Believing that God truly loves us unconditionally, has truly forgiven us absolutely, and has called us -- open sores and all -- to be God's messages of love to the world are the absolute requisites of what it means to not only to be a Christian, but also to be the corporate embodiment of Christ to the world.
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So why do I, and so many other Christians -- especially Asian American Christians -- find God's grace so scandalous? If God's grace is the most amazing gift of all to a world full of hopeless, hapless sinners, then why do so many of us completely freak out at the possibility of ever looking like we are in desperate need of that gift?
Let's start with a refreshingly unfamiliar take on why God's grace is so remarkable. In a recent interview, Bono -- U2's lead singer and global philanthropist -- noted that one thing that keeps him awestruck with God is the difference he sees between grace and karma:
I really believe we've moved out of the realm of karma into one of grace. You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called grace to upend all that 'as you reap, so shall you sow' stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff