Disposable grace is anchored in self; sturdy grace is anchored in Christ.
For a community like ours, in the place of promise that we're in, we have a fork in the road that's coming down the pike. There's a fork in the road that we have not yet faced. Maybe some of us have faced it on an individual level, but community-wide we haven't faced it just yet. It's not a doomsday fork in the road, it's just a fork in the road that every relationship, at some point has to face.
The fork in the road will be this: we will be hurt by each other. At some point along the way, the people that you're meeting and making friends with and really enjoying, at some point they are going to get knocked off the pedestal because they will do something to criticize, annoy, frustrate, or exclude you. As soon as we find ourselves annoyed, exasperated, or frustrated, we're going to find ourselves at that fork. The default path that most people take when relationships turn sour, when they get frustrating, is the path of disposable grace.
There's a movie called Fight Club, the narrator in this movie is played by Edward Norton, and he describes his life as an independent adult. This is what he says: "Everywhere I travel, tiny life. Single-serving sugar, single-serving cream, single pad of butter, the microwave Cordon Bleu Hobby Kit, shampoo-conditioner combos, sample packaged mouthwash, tiny bars of soap. The people I meet on each flight, single-serving friends." Now, the narrator in this movie wasn't just describing the fact that you meet people and they are acquaintances, which are good, normal, and healthy. He was lamenting the fact, when he was talking about single-serving friends; he realized all of his relationships had become disposable. This left him with a profound sense of emptiness and loneliness.
When we ...
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Aaron Damiani is the pastor of Immanuel Anglican Church, a church plant in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. He is the author of The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent.