Deep down, we know forgiveness is a good idea. Even secular psychologists tell us that forgiveness is a powerful part of the solution to mental health disorders. So why is God’s gift of grace so hard to give away?
We live in an offense-obsessed culture. Political upheaval, egregious injustice, civic unrest, conspiracy theories, and fully loaded theological throwdowns consume our minds and confuse our hearts. Two minutes of early morning social media scrolling can leave us hot before our feet even hit the floor.
We know this. We see it, we complain about it, and we even warn against it. And yet, we continue to go back to the well of outrage to find purpose. The problem is, offense offers a counterfeit significance—one that perpetuates a false identity and keeps the God of grace at arm’s length.
We the church are certainly not immune to the allure of offense. And when we allow offense to fill the Christ-shaped void in our hearts, even our well-intentioned prayer circles and discipling moments can turn from healthy processing to gossip and slander in a heartbeat. Before we know it, we’re judging and condemning our brothers and sisters in a way Jesus never did. We cling to offense and withhold forgiveness with a so-called “righteous anger,” justified by our own feelings.
Anger is a feeling. Sadness is a feeling. Disgust is a feeling. These feelings are normal and healthy at the right times. But to take offense is not a feeling; it’s a choice. When we teach our wandering hearts to sin in anger by choosing offense, we miss out on an opportunity to see and be God’s grace in action. Grace is the other, and better, choice.
Rebel as Jesus was, flippin’ tables and takin’ names was rarely the modus operandi of Jesus the Messiah. The Gospels note only a handful of times where Jesus didn’t turn the other cheek, and each of those times he was coming up against religious hypocrisy in one way or another. In those moments, God’s grace looked like protecting the flock from marginalization, discrimination, and all-out abuse.
Jesus had two healthy habits driving his conversations with sinners and seekers alike:
Jesus spoke truth and actually did so in love, inviting captives and prisoners alike to walk in freedom. He kept company with social outcasts and brought salvation to their homes. He made himself of no reputation—and typically resisted aligning with the influencers of the day.
God’s grace in action seemed reckless then, and it still does today. God himself is not reckless, but the way he releases grace defies all human reason. However difficult it may be to believe it and receive it, we are called to release God’s reckless grace as kings and priests in this earthly realm.
The problem with grace is that we often try to release it independently of God—in our own authority. We forgive because we know we should, not because we’ve come into agreement with what God says about grace and forgiveness.
In John Chapter 20, the risen Jesus releases a powerful, Spirit-led grace mandate over his disciples:
“I send you to preach the forgiveness of sins—and people’s sins will be forgiven. But if you don’t proclaim the forgiveness of their sins, they will remain guilty.”John 20:23 TPT
Far more than a spiritual ultimatum, Jesus’ words in John 20:23 are a scandalous invitation to declare and release God’s grace and forgiveness over people instead of caving to forgiveness in our own strength.
Hard as it might be to accept, releasing grace and forgiveness is far more tangible than many of the other signs, wonders, and miracles Jesus invited his people into.
Oh, but he doesn’t stop there. Just before the crucifixion, Jesus one-ups himself.
“I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father! For I will do whatever you ask me to do when you ask me in my name. And that is how the Son will show what the Father is really like and bring glory to him. Ask me anything in my name, and I will do it for you!”John 14:12–14 TPT
Did you catch that? We have been given power and authority to do even greater things than Jesus displayed, so long as we do them “in his name.”This expression acknowledges God as the absolute source of any power and authority we have as believers.
The same goes for grace. The only authority we have in releasing grace and forgiveness is to come into agreement with the Father’s way of thinking, especially when forgiveness is something we would not—or could not—do on our own.
We can do nothing independent of God—we’re only meant to say what the Father is saying and do what the Father is doing as Jesus did (John 12:49–50). This requires intimacy and humility, something we all need more of.
Power and authority as a believer in Jesus are a direct outpouring of our identity in Christ and our oneness with him and the Father fully embraced (John 14:20). We are not the source of the power. But in Christ, we are the conduit. Like any other sign, wonder, or miracle, we are called to be stewards of grace, operating under the absolute authority of God and coming into agreement with what he says and thinks of others.
Be as radical or restrained as you want with this grace gift, but if you do what the Father calls and empowers you to do, you will set others free, just as Jesus did.
Releasing grace and forgiveness in the overflow is not only our right as children of God but also our responsibility as coheirs to the kingdom of heaven with Jesus Christ. This is the magnitude of the gift we carry!
The tangible release of God’s grace over humanity is quite possibly the greatest evangelistic tool the church has never used. It’s time we the church receive the gift of God’s reckless grace and all the power and authority in his name that comes with it.
When you have a hard time mustering the strength to forgive the unforgivable?Declare these words of Jesus over yourself and come into agreement with his truth as you learn to release his grace to others:
“For I’m not speaking as someone who is self-appointed, but I speak by the authority of the Father himself who sent me, and who instructed me what to say. And I know that the Father’s commands result in eternal life, and that’s why I speak the very words I’ve heard him speak.”John 12:49–50 TPT
Friends, grace is good for your soul. Hard stop. But it’s not just your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health that’s at stake. We’re talking about a generation of believers poised for a grace revolution if we would dare to forgive like Jesus did—recklessly.
And once you receive the fullness of God’s reckless grace? You’re going to want to spend the rest of your life giving it away.
Discover more about God’s reckless grace here.
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Brit Eaton is a writer, speaker, discipler, and all-around pursuer of the kingdom of God. She helps corporate, nonprofit, and ministry leaders find the words to say to move people to action. An eager apostle and strong advocate for women in ministry, Brit thrives in diverse, Spirit-filled environments committed to unity in the body of Christ. Brit is the co-author of Reckless Grace, a book inspired by and developed with Bill Vanderbush. She lives in a log home on ten wooded acres in Mount Vernon, Ohio, with her husband, Mike, and daughter, Bella. briteaton.com
Bill Vanderbush is a third-generation minister who has pastored for over twenty-five years. He and his wife, Traci, had a supernatural encounter with the Holy Spirit that drew them into an incredible adventure of being shaped and fashioned by the power and grace of God.
Bill’s consuming passion is to empower people to do the greater works that Jesus spoke of and live out the mystery of our union with Christ. Bill and Traci’s ministry invites people into a spontaneous, Holy Spirit-led, team ministry training experience that will forever transform the way you see and do life. Through this message and revelation of the grace of God, you will be liberated and empowered to invade the impossible. Bill is the co-author of Reckless Grace, a book developed with Brit Eaton. Bill and Traci currently live in Celebration, Florida. They have two grown children, Britain and Sara. billvanderbush.com