I live in a culture that preaches high grace.
We give each other feedback. We forgive. We move on.
For the record, I feel extremely blessed (among other things) to live in this community. My leadership gives an unprecedented amount of grace, allowing me to make mistakes, to actively exercise my gifts while freely acknowledging that I might fail.
Let’s be honest—that’s happened pretty often. (This one time I even quit my life for a week.)
Not one time have I found myself facing critics or anger or even—and this would be hardest for me—disappointment.
My mistakes have only ever been met with love.
But sometimes I wonder if there might be a chance that my culture is too quick to extend grace.
Sometimes I wonder if in extending grace, we’ve actually opened our door of the sheep pen and let in a wolf or two.
I wonder if, for the sake of grace, we’ve skimped on protecting our own people, the tried-and-true people, the innocent ones.
I wonder if we shouldn’t be more careful to keep our friends close and push the danger just a little further away.
I mean, for every Cesar there’s a Brutus. And for every America, there’s a Benedict Arnold.
And Jesus was betrayed by Judas—one of the Twelve.
It could easily be argued that we need better walls, more sturdy ramparts to keep our people safe from those who don’t wish us well. We could have a stricter vetting process or scrutinize each other’s intentions with a little more care.
Sometimes I wish we would do that, for surely that would be wisdom.
But then I think of Jesus, who thanked His Father for “hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and revealing them to the childlike” (Luke 10:21).
I am not wise.
A child, hurt on the playground, may look at the one who pushed him and be angry for a moment. But on the first chance of offering forgiveness, he takes it and the pair—the offender and offended—run off together to play.
What I am not saying is that we allow abusive people to abuse us. I am not saying that if a husband hits his wife, she should stay. Or, that if a woman speaks ugly words to her friend, her friend must listen.
But Jesus, knowing Judas would betray Him, allowed Him into the Twelve.
He knew what was coming. He knew not only that He could potentially dies. He knew it was inevitable.
And He extended grace anyway.
Allowing people into our community is always a risk, but I think, given the example we follow, it’s a risk worth taking.
What do you think? How do we protect ourselves without giving up on grace?