Among others, I was scared of:
the dark, because that's where the Boogie Monster lives
bears, even though I had never run into one
running out of cookies, a fear I still have
small spaces, a legitimate fear with a real name
sisters, but only the ones I had
and kittens, they only look innocent
Now, as a dad myself, I realize the list of things to be afraid of only increases;
no job, because a lack of an income can be a real downer on my spending habits
presidential races, because those debates can interfere with my TV viewing schedule
small children, because they are really sticky
car repairs, because I didn't listen to my dad when he was teaching me how to fix stuff
taxes, home repairs, inflation, the return of The Smurfs,...
I could go on. I left most of those childhood fears behind (don't ask), but I am coming to believe that there is something more bizarre that freaks people out.
Yeah, the free gift of God. It scares people. See, we're accustomed to being called dirty sinners. If you're not, you're probably hiding from people. We've gotten used to thinking down on ourselves. Driving in rush hour traffic or working in any business that deals with...people...will accomplish this.
What we are not comfortable with is a no-strings-attached, free-for-all gift. Why? Because we don't see it every day. But there was a Friday long ago where a gift was given. It was free. It was for everyone. It happened when Jesus died on a cross for our sins. Yours. Mine. Everyone.
We received a free gift of grace that day. This allowed Paul, one of the followers of Jesus, to write the following;
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2
No condemnation! That's a non-guilty verdict for us when we were actually guilty. Have you ever heard of anything like that? Being guilty but getting away with it? That doesn't happen, unless of course, it's a recent case in Florida or you're a former football star who drives a white bronco. I digress...
In a perfect system, one I believe God has set up, the idea of no condemnation should be given more fanfare. Give God thanks, sing Hakuna Matata, do something. But don't be scared. We need to embrace grace and live free. Perhaps the best reminder is a question posed by Paul later in Romans 8.
"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31
I choose not to be scared. How about you?