I read recently of an actor (Meryl Streep?) who said she no longer cares what people think. It’s a perk, she said, of getting older. I can relate. I’m old enough to have stopped caring (at least as much) about what other people think. This article, while a little crude, puts it well: “You don’t care about being cool anymore and therefore you become the coolest you have ever been in your life” (cool being a relative term).
But it’s not just age that frees you from what other people think. Grace does this too. As Scotty Smith puts it, grace is the end of all posturing and pretending.
- Because of grace, I no longer have to pretend to be someone different than I am. Grace meets me right where I am.
- Because of grace, I don’t have to measure up, because I couldn’t anyway. Jesus has measured up on my behalf, and it is enough.
- Because of grace, I can accept the harshest criticism, knowing that even worse is true of me than they know, but it’s all been dealt with by Jesus.
- Because of grace, I can be free from needing the approval of others, knowing that I already have the only approval that really matters.
- Because of grace, I can lean into honest relationships with others, knowing that I don’t have to fear being exposed when I’m dressed in the righteousness of Christ.
I love how Jared Wilson puts it in The Pastor's Justification, especially (as the title suggests) as it relates to pastors:
Pastor, will we seek justification in our reputations? In our church’s numbers and figures? In our retweets and links? In our podcast downloads? In a book deal or speaking engagement? In our own sense of a job well done? This is sand.
Or will we look up and out, away from ourselves, away from the fickle fellowship, away from Satan’s right hand of the Father, where our righteousness sits, firmly fixed eternal? There is your justification, pastor, perfect and big, bigger than you and better than you but bled and bought for you and birthed in you, yours irrevocably, sealed and guaranteed through both your successes and your failures, through the pats on your back or the knives in your back. There is your justification, there in Christ, and because in him there is no shadow of turning, you are utterly, totally, undeniably justified.
Brother, you are free.
The freedom that comes from grace is much better than the freedom that comes from aging.