Pools of Grace
Scripture: Luke 19:1-10
The truth is there are just some people you don’t want to turn around. For some of us the names of ‘those’ people are as blatant as a neon bumper sticker, protest rally trending on twitter or a full-page ad taken out in the Sunday newspaper. For others of us the names of ‘those’ people are meticulously filled away under codenames, and buried behind forced facial expressions. Whether we respond to our hatred of another person or group of people in an obvious or covert manner is irrelevant to the disgust we harbor for them.
The disdain Jesus’ contemporaries experienced over Zacchaeus was intense. Zacchaeus was likely considered a traitor to his community (Jericho), his nation (Israel), his ethnicity (Jewish), and his faith (Judaism). Those things weren’t so easily divvied up for Zacchaeus. In the one action of becoming a chief tax collector he became an enemy to virtually everything and everyone he knew. In today’s terms, people engaged in a heated exchange in the comments section of a Facebook article might have been able to bury the hatchet in Zacchaeus’ back.
Philip Yancey writes, “Grace, like water, always flows downward, to the lowest place.” Grace streams toward the lowest places in our lives and pools up there. Zacchaeus was no more or unlikely a candidate for grace, because when we understand our humanity, and our connection we become aware of our common need for grace. He might have been the last person we would have expected, but that speaks more to the way our contempt and judgment of others corrodes and distorts both our view of their transgressions and of our merit.
Who is the neighbor, disowned family member, competitor, nation, people group, or political movement that causes your blood to boil?
How do you respond publicly to them?
How do you talk about them among likeminded friends?
How does their success stir you up?
How about their failure?
How do their weaknesses, blindspots, and cruelties relate to your own?
What makes it particularly challenging to have compassion for them?
How do you sense God’s grace pooling up in the lowest places of your life?
How might you prayerfully partner with God’s grace pooling in the life of the one you struggle to truly love?
These are important questions to reflect upon, because ultimately they help us to see how the pools of God’s grace are open to and deeply needed by all of us.