Today a guy I don’t personally know posted this status update on Facebook:
“Grace doesn’t come in different sizes. You can’t give a small serving of grace. It either comes extra large or doesn’t come at all.” ~Carlos Whittaker
I follow Carlos, who is a pastor in California (I think), because a few months ago he wrote a blog post I adored. I enjoy following him but wasn’t expecting to be stopped cold in my tracks while scanning my newsfeed this morning… and his insight has had me thinking all day long.
Grace comes in extra large.
Let me say that again: Grace — the reprieve from the negative consequence truly deserved — comes in extra large or not at all.
You see, as a perfectionist I don’t see grace in extra large. I feel I need to earn my way into a state of grace. If I’ve done a good job homeschooling today, I have the ability to look at the laundry pile and feel like it will be okay — eventually. If I’ve managed to get all the dishes done and a batch of bread baked then it’s acceptable that the bed is not made and the kids wore pajamas all day. If my husband has acted like a buffoon I can tell him I love him but leave an unspoken, “But if you do that again…” hanging over our conversation.
My grace hasn’t typically come in extra large. It’s come in little portions of sweetness, kind of like a Hershey’s bar. Hershey’s bars are scored so it’s easy to break into those little squares… but do you know a single person who eats only one square?! I don’t! I gobble a whole row in one sitting if I’m particularly controlled, and the bar is my preferred method of excess when I indulge. It’s just not good enough to have only one little square. You can’t even make a decent s’more with only one square!
I hadn’t realized until this morning that I’ve been dishing out my acceptance one square at a time. Sometimes my grace has been extended in a size small, occasionally a large. I can’t remember a time when I have relaxed my guard toward myself or others in a way that could truly be termed gluttonously, largely, extravagantly extra large.
And a smidgen of grace is no grace at all.
Grace extended with hesitancy or an unspoken, “Well, just this one time,” is no grace at all.
I feel like I’ve been hit across the face with this cold truth and will be chewing on this for quite a while as I try to change my natural reaction to something that is much, much more beautiful.
Thank you, Carlos Whittaker. That’s all I have to say about that.