We are willing to demonstrate grace and healing to those who look, act, and struggle the same way we do, but condemn and alienate those who look, act, or struggle differently. As a result, when people in our churches, whether out of curiosity or need, seek to discuss uncomfortable topics like racial injustice, they are often met with scorn or simplistic responses meant to quickly dismiss the conversation and silence "the other" because of the discomfort the topic creates. Such responses are profoundly unloving.
Grace is the first ingredient necessary for growing up in the image of God. Grace is unbroken, uninterrupted, unearned, accepting relationship. It is the kind of relationship humanity had with God in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were loved and provided for. They knew God’s truth, and they had perfect freedom to do God’s will. In short, they were secure; they had no shame and anxiety. They could be who they truly were.
The Church is the Body of Christ, and the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. He fills the Body, directs its movements, controls its members, inspires its wisdom, supplies it's strength. He guides into truth, sanctifies its agents, and empowers for witnessing. The Spirit has never abdicated His authority nor relegated His power.
No flower can bloom in Paradise which is not transplanted from Gethsemane. No one can taste of the fruit of the tree of life, that has not tasted of the fruits of the tree of Calvary. The crown is after the cross.
The life of faith, and the instinct of faith are one and the same. It is an enjoyment of the goods of God, and a confidence founded on the expectation of His protection, making everything pleasant and received with a good grace. It is indifference to, and at the same time a preparation for every place, state, or person. Faith is never unhappy even when the senses are most desolate. This lively faith is always in God, always in His action above contrary appearances by which the senses are darkened. The senses, in terror, suddenly cry to the soul, "Unhappy one! You have now no resource, you are lost," and instantly faith with a stronger voice answers: "Keep firm, go on, and fear nothing."