"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Infuriating Grace!

"Grace is not only amazing, it is also -- for certain types -- infuriating!"

Kenneth Bailey made this observation in Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes while discussing the reaction of the vineyard workers in the parable of the compassionate employer. Although some workers had labored all day, some part of the day and some only for an hour, the employer chose to pay all of them the full day's wage.

Those who had worked all day thought they should be paid more although they agreed to the wage given when the employer hired them at daybreak. They were outraged that those who only worked an hour were paid the same as they.

"No one is underpaid in this parable. The complaint is from the justly paid who cannot tolerate grace."

For another example of infuriating grace, see the reaction of the older son in the story of the prodigal son.

Does grace ever infuriate you? Or are you mostly amazed and joyful at God's generosity to those not deserving His kindness? And on a secular level such as the one mentioned above with the compassionate employer, does grace ever make you angry?

Quotes from page 361


Wafa' said...

nope it doesn't infuriate me, why would it ? .not everything have to be right and justice in this world to be accepted. I think there is not any one who doesn't deserve any of Go'd kindeness. we all need it and we all deserve it in different level and time, but definetly eveyone deserve god's kindeness .

Anonymous said...

I think there has definitely been a time or two when it infuriated me...but as fast as the feelings came- they went. Usually when I get like that I tend to just hand it over-I know God is just.

Sometimes we don't always see things as they are. What may not be "fair" to us may seem perfectly logical to another -and may be exactly as God wants for a person..we can never know who is the beneficiary of the grace, kindness,lesson etc when something is happening-it can be anyone/anywhere?!

I have to say I never thought about it as infuriating grace though?! Very interesting. That books seems interesting! Might have to add that one to my list

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Susanne said...

Wafa', you are just too sweet. :)

Shell, you make great points. I'd never heard of "infuriating grace" before either. I think that's why I took my attention!! :)

Yes, I recommend this book. It's a bit deep, but not overly-so. What I mean is that you have to take your time to read it as it's not one of those most of us can pick up and read straight through in two days.

Thank you both for your comments!

Suroor said...

Very interestingly. Never thought about that. Let me think more about it :)

Susanne said...

Suroor, read the parables and see if you can make the connection to "infuriating grace." Also think of Jonah who knew God was so merciful that IF the Ninevites repented, God would not destroy them. Jonah did not want this at all! God's mercy infuriated him! I thought of this after I published this post. I think it also fits pretty well.

I'd love to hear further thoughts if you have them.

Carmen said...

Susanne, I commented @ gmail, but you know me. I'm not such a nice person at times and I am most certainly not Christ-like enough. I DO struggle with grace, it does not come so easily to me. No matter how often I've experienced it myself, I do not always understand how it is so freely given to others.

I need to better appreciate it.

Susanne said...

Carmen, yes, thank you for replying at Buzz. I can't recall if I replied there as it's so new and I'm trying to keep up everywhere else too. :)

I appreciate what you shared about your struggle with grace and how it IS infuriating at times. I don't know if you read the comment I wrote last night to Suroor, but remember how Jonah didn't like God's mercy? I think it's similar to this "infuriating grace." We want people to get what's due them and for life to be fair so God's (and others') grace and mercy sometimes rubs us the wrong way.

I can relate sometimes. Thanks for your comment! :)