I was nervous. Very nervous.
I was sitting in a salon chair for the first time in years. I’ve cut and colored my own hair for just about forever, but when I need something major, like going from black to blonde highlights, I leave that to a professional.
Even still, I was nervous. When someone applies multiple layers of bleach to your hair, all I can see is chunks breaking off, but she assured me my hair would still be intact when she was finished.
As the hours ticked by, my stylist and I talked about anything and everything. We’ve known each other for years, so we had plenty to talk about. Our conversation meandered here and there as we caught up on life. My stylist is strong in her faith and passionately pursues a righteous walk, so as I talked about my personal journey these past few years, I brought up how I’ve discovered the vast sea of God’s Grace. Even though I’ve been a Christian since childhood and have heard about Grace my whole life, it’s only in the past year that it’s truth has been revealed to me.
This revelation of Grace (along with the revelation of God’s delight for his people) changed me. Grace left it’s brand on my heart, leaving my heart reckless and wild. I will spend the rest of my life pursuing God’s love and Grace.
She smiled politely, but said, “Really? I think there is way too much emphasis on Grace. It’s been an avenue for Christians to justify themselves as they continue to live in sin”.
Now this isn’t the first time I’ve heard something like this. I’ve heard the same line many times and I’m sure I’ve said something similar at one point in my life, but for the first time I don’t agree, but I wasn’t prepared for a disagreement.
I’m not quick witted and I hate to argue, so I’ve learned to adapt in my life. I stay away from controversy and if I think I’m going to be caught off guard, I won’t answer the phone. My mind needs time to process. I always think of my witty and smart answer the next day.
Now, I obviously stepped into some controversial waters, but I wasn’t prepared for my defense. I’ve been so smitten by God’s love and grace, I hadn’t taken the time to write a rebuttal for someone who might not agree with me.
We let that subject end there and we moved on to safer conversations like, Pinterest and babies.
She finished my hair and true to her word, it was still intact. I left excited about beginning my transition from dark to light, and I couldn’t wait to show Matt my new locks. As I was showing my hair to Matt he said, “Oh Charity, the entire back of your shirt is bleached white”!
The eight hours bleaching, washing, bleaching again, washing, highlighting, and washing had leaked through my cape and bleached out my shirt.
It was an old shirt that I didn’t care anything about, so I just threw it away.
That’s when my defense came. That’s when I discovered proof that understanding God’s grace isn’t just a ticket to live out of control, embracing sin.
You see, I immediately forgave my stylist for damaging my shirt (not because I’m super awesome, but because my shirt was old and I love my stylist more than my shirt). I texted her to let her know and I refused to let her buy me a new one.
I extended her grace.
Now, the next time I go in to get my hair done, what do you think her attitude will be toward me and my shirt?
Will she think, “Oh good, Charity doesn’t care if I ruin her shirts, she forgave me last time and she’ll forgive me this time too, so I’m not going to do anything to prevent from ruining her shirt today”, then, proceed to carelessly color my hair getting dye all over my clothes?
Or would she take better precaution to keep my shirt from stain?
I don’t think I know one person who would take on the first flippant attitude. Most people will be like my hairstylist. She was over apologetic, offered me money, and the next time I arrived for my hair appointment, she was holding an old t-shirt for me to change into.
And I was just like God (I know, I’m really stretching this story thin), I couldn’t wait to get back in the chair and spend more time with her, and never once brought up my old shirt.
My hairstylist didn’t even know it, but she taught me why understanding God’s grace doesn’t cause people to live carelessly in sin, but rather it gives people a deeper desire to live righteous, but it also, gives us confidence when we do stain the shirt, we know God will be back, anxious to spend more time with us.