Sometimes it feels like hate wins. Sometimes it feels like bullies beat down all signs of innocence. Sometimes forgiveness gets lost. Sometimes it feels like fear takes over.
Each time we turn on the TV, listen to the radio, or read the newspaper our world is discussing divisions, scores, and lines that have been drawn in the sand. Why is it that hurting others is winning? Why do hate and violence seem to be the answer?
I am not suggesting that one side or the other is right or wrong in any one event, but the tenor of conversation has strayed, resulting in violence, hate, worry, rage and even fear like the crowds during Holy Week.
The community was wondering who was right—the Pharisees, whom they knew and trusted, or Jesus? They had to take sides between Barabbas, who was a known criminal but something they understood, versus Jesus, who described a world that was beyond their understanding of grace and truth.
The crowds had to choose between something known and something unknown. And whenever we are faced with decisions that are filled with unknowns, the feeling of fear wells up.
All of us, in every time and place, feel fear. Brene Brown, a leading psychologist, says that we all feel fear and want to know who to blame for it—so we seek out answers. We are afraid of world wars, so we find a place or person to blame. We are afraid of politics, so we find someone to blame. We are afraid of what might happen with our health, so we find blame. We are afraid of the future, so we find blame. Fear is expressed in many different ways—jealousy, anxiety, eating too much chocolate, anger or stress. Fear drives many decisions, often not in the right direction, which is why we end up with violence, hate, war, rage, prejudice, and even Jesus’ death on the cross.
But fear doesn’t have to own us. Instead, Jesus’ grace can. Grace is a new way of living. It means being brave in the midst of seasons in our lives when we are afraid, trusting when we are unsure how we got to this place or what will come next, loving others even when we don’t always understand.
As we approach Holy Week, where can grace show up in your life? Hate never wins, God’s forgiveness is never lost and grace is the only thing that takes over. Let Jesus’ grace pour upon you so that you might see God’s grace no matter what it is happening in your life today.