What’s So Amazing About Grace (book review)

Philip Yancey calls grace “the last best word,” and I quite agree. What’s So Amazing About Grace is a challenging read because it is so painful. The truth of our almost daily practice of ungrace is confronting and convicting.

Throughout this book I wanted to say, “I’m glad I don’t behave that way.” And then I’d get a quick glance of myself in the mirror and realize how easily I slip into the same ungraceful behavior I despise. I so desperately want to be a grace-filled man.

Here are just a few of the passages that I’m meditating on, and trying to apply to my life:

  • “I yearn for the church to become a nourishing culture of grace.”
  • “Sociologists have a theory of the looking-glass self: you become what the most important person in your life (wife, father, boss, etc.) thinks you are. How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible’s astounding words about God’s love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees?”
  • “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” (Dorothy Day)
  • “In a brilliant stroke Jesus replaces the two assumed categories, righteous and guilty, with two different categories: sinners who admit and sinners who deny.”
  • “Grace substitutes a full, childlike and delighted acceptance of our Need, a joy in total dependence. We become ‘jolly beggars.’” (C.S. Lewis)
  • “Having spent time around ‘sinners’ and also around purported ‘saints,’ I have a hunch why Jesus spent so much time with the former group: I think He preferred their company. Because the sinners were honest about themselves and had not pretense, Jesus could deal with them. In contrast, the saints put on airs, judged Him, and sought to catch Him in a moral trap. In the end it was the saints, not the sinners, who arrested Jesus.”

If you are challenged about living grace-filled in an increasingly grace-less society, you will find ample help in reading this book.

The Person You Love The Least

Quick… think of the person that you love the least.

Get a good mental picture of him/her.

Got it?

What sort of emotions come to mind as you see his/her face? Are you anxious to give them a bear hug? Or maybe it’s more like a tight hug right around their neck? Do you want to hang out with them at Starbucks? If you saw them stranded on the side of the road, would you stop to help?

Now, with the image of that person still clearly in mind, slowly read this quote:

“I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” —Dorothy Day

Ouch!

I’m really trying to work on this. Are you willing to try too?

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