If you are checking my Currently Reading page, you will notice that Philip Yancey’s book, What’s So Amazing About Grace, has been there since… forever, I think. Haha! This day, I finished the book. Yey! This book revolutionized my life and how I view the people around me. Embarrassing as it is, it is the only book that helped me understand what grace really is, and how God has loved me, all of us, more than anything else.
It also taught me that, as God has forgiven us, we should forgive other people. Extend to them the grace that God has showed to us. In this world full of ungrace, we, Christians should be the vessels of God’s grace into this world.
There are lots of points I learned from this book that are worth noting. But I want to share to you this one point that really struck me. Suddenly, it all made sense to me.
This is what Yancey wrote…
For a long time, C. S. Lewis reports, he could never understand the hair splitting distinction between hating the person’s sin and hating the sinner. How could you hate what a man did and not hate the man?
But years later, it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life – namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it. In fact the very reason I hated the things was that I loved the man. Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things.
Christians should not compromise in hating sin, says Lewis. Rather we should hate the sins in others in the same way we hate them in ourselves: being sorry the person has done such things and hoping that somehow, sometime, somewhere, that person will be healed.
In this paragraph, Yancey was talking about the saying, “Hate the sin but love the sinner.” But along these thoughts, another quote came to mind, the very quote Jesus Christ spoke about…
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
Suddenly, it all made sense to me. When Jesus Christ said this, He meant that we should think well of others, treat them well the way we wanted to be treated. But not only that, He also meant that we should be able to forgive and love other people, no matter how harsh, mean or threatening they have been to us, the way that we will love ourselves even if we think we are so mean or harsh ourselves. We should be able to separate the sin that the other person have done to us to the person himself, the way we move on and forget our own flaws.
Knowing the best person who has exhibited this trait of love and grace, we Christians should be able to exhibit this as well, especially to people who have been rejected by the world. Easier said than done, right? But if you will look around, you will see how this world, your own society needs grace. And you could be that person that God may use to show grace and love to other people.
Here is the story Yancey wrote at the beginning of the book. The very reason that moved me to buy this book. I hope that it will make you think and be moved as well, not to buy the book (hehe!) but, more importantly, to start living in grace and share that grace to other people, in this world of ungrace.
A prostitute came to me in wretched straits, homeless, sick, unable to buy food for her two-year-old daughter. Through sobs and tears, she told me she had been renting out her daughter – two years old!- to men interested in kinky sex. She made more renting out her daughter for an hour than she could earn on her own in a night. She had to do it, she said, to support her own drug habit. I could hardly bear hearing her sordid story. For one thing, it made me legally liable – I’m required to report cases of child abuse. I had no idea what to say about this woman.
At last I asked if she had ever thought of going to a church for help. I will never forget the look of pure, naive shock that crossed her face. “Church!” she cried. “Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They’d just make me feel worse.”