Last week, I got to be part of the cast in a coming film about one of my biggest heroes, Brennan Manning. After one very late night shot, the actor playing Brennan got to chatting with me. He did not know anything about Brennan until starting his research for this role. He kept telling me a lot about Brennan's life without realizing I had read nearly all of Brennan's books, and I wrote a review of an advanced copy of Brennan's last book, a memoir. This actor was not surprising me with anything.
He went on to tell me about the disgusting, broken parts of Brennan's life that not all readers know, but which will be in the film. He went on to make the comment that marked his confusion of how all this brokenness reacted with Brennan's message of grace and the gospel of the love of God.
It is a question of confusion most of us have when we attempt to know grace not only in theory, but in practice. Many of us can explain grace in a variety of terms because our minds understand the concept. But few of us have taken hold of the great reality of how grace interacts with the brokenness, the imperfection, and the sin of our daily lives. Here is a statement which may help take at least a step toward allowing grace to enter into the heart and begin to impact your practice of grace:
GRACE ONLY STICKS TO SIN
Grace is no grace at all if there is no sin to provide redemption for. Grace is no grace at all to the one who cannot take a personal, honest look at his own imperfections and moral impairments. Once we come to accept the reality we are not perfect nor do we have to be in order to experience the ambush of grace, we can become freer than we have ever been.
The love of God is a reckless love given to those who cannot deserve it. This is how grace works, it only sticks to your impairment and sin.
To be clear: We do not hope to ABUSE this ("sin so that grace may increase"), but we ACCEPT our sin as the thing which makes grace stick.