There were a few, and I stress few, who lividly disapproved of the grace-based approach I took in my piece on Buttigieg, Trump, and Christianity. Specifically, these vocal few excoriated me for not describing in more explicit detail what they claim is Buttigieg’s biggest sin. While I took a 30,000 foot approach (because he, as all, sin in more ways than one), they were solely focused on his homosexuality and were angry with me that I did not abandon the topic of my editorial and single out that issue alone to discuss it at length — thus derailing the entire point of my piece by focusing on another issue instead of the issue on faith and voting.
This brings me to ask: Do these few operate under the assumption that Americans at large are unaware that Buttigieg is gay? (OK, so maybe this woman didn’t.) Do they believe that an editorial specifically focusing on grace and redemption within the context of leadership would be better served by spending the entirety of the editorial’s word count discussing Buttigieg’s bedroom sins act by act (this was an actual critique from a listener named Tate)? Their version of an editorial on this issue is to be graceless, full of fire and brimstone, and anything short of this mark is “unChristian.” Yes, I was repeatedly told by these few, yet vocal critics that I am not a real Christian because a real Christian doesn’t gloss over sin with “grace.” That is emphatically not what grace does, nor is, nor what the New Testament teaches (nor, what I did, if one actually read the piece). The few’s demand serves a purpose opposite to my book and point of my editorial. Grace is not sanction of sin. Grace is the unearned mercy and love of God. We have done nothing — none of us — to have “earned” grace (Romans 3:23-24). Grace and justice can also exist simultaneously.
(A reminder: these few were shown grace by Christ who was sent to die for their sins while they are still sinners.)
You can treat people with grace regardless of their sin — and since we are all sinners surely the few who have taken to emailing me condemnations are not suggesting that we stop treating one another with grace! Actually, considering the tone of these emails, I dare say these few have already committed to this.
I spoke with no less conviction on Biblical truths by doing so in a spirit of grace than had I written an angry and explicit piece. Again, grace isn’t sanction. Kindness isn’t sanction. Jesus didn’t sanction the sin of the woman at the temple, brought to him by the teachers of the law in John 8. Jesus acknowledged the sin, demonstrated grace, and rendered his justice: “Go now and leave your life of sin,” John 8:19. I gracefully and tactfully, yet severely and without compromise, stated: “It is difficult to lecture on sin while trying to mainstream aspects of sin within the Christian faith (Galatians 6:1-10).” There is zero sanction in that statement. None.
Perhaps these few don’t realize that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t writing for them, but for the people their graceless, legalistic approach prohibits them from ever reaching.