This is the second in a series of posts filling in the blank to “Grace is ____.”
Yesterday I began this series saying that grace is unnatural. It is unnatural because it runs against our nature to give. But while grace is against our natural inclination to give it is still something everyone wants, and so…
Grace is counterfeited.
Counterfeiting is not limited to gold, money, diamonds, and Gucci purses. If something has value, it will have counterfeits. Grace has high value, it is much sought after, and it can make the giver look good. So it should come as no surprise that grace has its counterfeits.
All of us have been hurt by the discovery that we have been given counterfeit grace:
- Being told that you are forgiven only to find out the offer was made to make someone else happy.
- Finding out that the reason that person who helped you when you were in trouble did it so you owed them.
- Being assured that you are forgiven and being made to apologize for that same offense a week later.
…makes promises to let go, but does not.
…looks like a gift, but expects something in return.
…always costs more to the recipient than the giver.
…benefits the giver at the expense of the receiver.
…is motivated by self-interest rather than love.
…takes more than it gives.
…hides instead of heals.
…ends up making things worse instead of better.
As a Christian and a pastor, perhaps the worst thing about counterfeit grace is that it is so much more common than the real thing…even among Christians. The deception of counterfeit grace makes it harder to convince people that the real thing exists.
The best way to tell the difference between the counterfeit and the real thing is to know the real thing inside and out. That will be the subject of the next posts in this series.