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.
Philip Yancey tells the story of a rabbi who listened for hours to a man’s complaints until he finally asked, “Why are you so angry with God?” he asked. Stunned by the rabbi’s question because he had not even mentioned God during the course of his long outburst, the man replied, “All my life, I have been so afraid to express my anger to God that I always directed my anger at people who are connected with God. But until this moment, I did not understand this.” The rabbi led the man to the Wailing Wall, away from the place where people pray, to the site of the ruins of the Temple. When they reached that place, the Rabbi told him that it was time to express all the anger he felt toward God. Then, for more than an hour, the man struck the wall of the Kotel with his hands and screamed his heart out. After that, he began to cry and could not stop crying, and little by little, his cries became sobs that turned into prayers. And that is how the Rabbi taught him how to pray.
Anytime you get rid of the designer, the creator, if you don’t have a designer, you can’t have design. If there’s no such thing as design, there’s no such thing as purpose. If there’s no such thing as purpose, there’s no such thing as destiny. Once you destroy the concept of a destiny, you’ve destroyed the concept of accountability, which is at the root of the fear of God. We live in a culture that is absent of the fear of God. And we don’t get it back by threatening people.