He replied to the one speaking for the rest, “Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?” here it is again, the great reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first. (Matthew 20:13–16 MSG)

The kingdom of God has nothing to do with our scales of justice. From our perspective, it’s easy to pick out the good guys and the bad guys; but God says there is no such thing as a good guy. We are all sinners standing in need of the grace of God: “Scripture leaves no doubt about it: There’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God” (Romans 3:9–10 MSG).

If you’re like me, you’ve thought, Well, sure, I understand that we’re all sinners in a broad sense, Lord, but there are some of us who mess up a lot less than others. You can’t tell me that doesn’t count for something.

It is so tempting to categorize sin, to see others as less deserving of God’s grace than we are. The clarion call of a grace-filled life is that we are required to lay down our internal scales of justice, not only as we see ourselves but also as we see and judge others. In terms of our salvation and God’s love for us, our list of what we view as our good behavior counts for nothing.

The Promise of Grace

We’ve looked at the problem of legalism, so now it’s time to embrace the promise of grace. It’s hard to extend to others what you have not allowed yourself to be blessed by, but the truth remains:

• As you are, right at this moment, God loves you.

• He knows all that is true about you, and he loves you.

• Even when you can’t forgive yourself, he forgives you.

• There is nothing you can do to make him love you more.

• There is nothing you can do to make him love you less.

This is the grace of God.

Take a few moments and be quiet with these truths. How do they sit with you? Are they hard to believe? Perhaps as we look at our past and bring it to the foot of the cross, it will help us receive the grace of God. Remember, as Martin Luther said, “A man must completely despair of himself in order to become fit to obtain the grace of Christ.”2

Deliverance Discovered

1. Do you believe—not just in your head, but deep in your soul—that God loves you as you are right now? Explain.

2. Do you think there is anything you could do to make God love or approve of you more? Explain.

3. Who in your circle do you find it the most difficult to extend grace to?

4. Why do you think that is?

A Prayer of Deliverance

Father God,

Thank you for the grace you offer me right at this moment. Deliver me from self-doubt and fear. Help me to feast on your glorious gift of fresh-baked grace every morning. Thank you that your love and grace invite us all to the feast. May I share this feast with someone else today.

For Jesus’ sake, amen

Let Go: Live Free of the Burdens All Women Know
Copyright 2008 by Sheila Walsh
Reprinted with permission of Thomas Nelson, Inc.. All rights reserved.