20
Oct
09

Offended by God’s grace

The multi-Oscar-winning movie, Amadeus, from 1984 shows the story of the unusual musical genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in contrast to the hard working, good composer, but not divinely talented Antonio Salieri. In the movie we see how Salieri is offended by God’s grace as bestowed on Mozart. He recognizes that God for some reason that Salieri can’t understand has decided to express himself through a in Salieri’s view lazy, no good, cocky, young Austrian by the name of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He is furious at God and his grace towards Mozart. He is angry that God had decided to give him certain gifts in writing music, but nothing that came close to Mozart’s level. Watch this clip from the movie, and especially the last minute where Salieri vows to do what he can do to destroy Mozart’s career, and where he declares war on God, because of God’s choices:

I thought about this clip this last week as I was teaching about grace and identity in Christ. How easy it is for us as Christians to fall into the same trap that Salieri, and the older brother in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 fell into where he end up being offended by God’s grace. God’s grace is shocking to us. It is per definition unfair. Or rather: it has nothing to do with fair or unfair! God’s grace is a mystery. God’s grace is bestowed on small and large, important and unimportant, disciplined and undisciplined, educated and uneducated….we can’t stop it. We can’t control it. We can only embrace and celebrate it.

I was teaching about grace last week and some of the people in the group I was teaching were very obviously offended by God’s grace. They obviously wouldn’t use such language, but that was still the case. It feels absurd, maybe even unfair that it’s possible for people to become Christians and then choose to waste their whole lives not serving God one bit, and yet, they are eternally loved, secure and will be safe in God the Father’s arms now and forevermore and nothing they will ever do/say/think/feel will ever be able to change that. That’s offensive to us. That’s not right. Why isn’t there a limit to grace, we ask? We want a limit. We understand that there are consequences for living in sin here on planet earth, but it doesn’t seem right to us that you can just waste away your life as a Christian and God is still gonna love and accept you. But he does. And he always will.

I rejoice in God’s grace. So undeserved. So needed for me. So capable of changing from within. So powerful in melting the iceberg of hurt, anger, blame, self-righteousness, lust, lies, wounds and everything else that keeps me from fully embracing who I really am in Christ.

Let’s refrain from dissecting God’s grace and look at it as it was a frog chosen for that sort of experiment. God’s grace can’t be controlled. God’s grace is per definition insane. I pray that God will always keep me in awe of his grace, so I don’t end up being offended by it.

Salieri couldn’t forgive God for being gracious to Mozart. The older son hated his father for loving and accepting his younger brother without any sort of plan for how he was going to repay the debt. Are you offended by God’s grace to all of us? God truly is a lovesick father. He longs to forgive and renew you and I.

I celebrate the grace of God!

Concepts create idols. Only wonder grasps anything” /Gregory of Nysa

Blessings, Torben

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