No sin is so great, no bitterness so deep that God's grace cannot transform the heart and rewrite the story. But grace is so hard for us to understand.
It doesn't make sense.
It's not fair.
It can't possibly cover over what I've done.
Perhaps nothing is as difficult to explain as God's grace. The best way--perhaps the only real way--to understand it is to experience it.
In Grace is Greater, bestselling author and pastor Kyle Idleman leads us past our hang-ups toward an understanding of grace that is bigger than our mistakes, our faiulures, our desire for revenge, and our seemingly impossible situations. Through powerful stories of grace experience, this book will help you truly grasp God's grace...even if the Christians around you have failed to live it.
I requested this book back in February when it was being released, but it ended up somewhere in the mailing system and I didn't receive it. I requested it again because I really wanted to read it and to make a longer story short, I ended up with two copies. Needless to say, one will be a gift for someone. ;)
The news of the bestselling author of Not a Fan spread widely when it was released, and I read and heard smatterings of people's opinions of the book. Other than that, Kyle Idleman was an unknown author to me. And because I sense that the concept of grace (after salvation) is an infrequent one among conservative Christian circles, I needed another reminder of it.
As the subtitle suggests, Idleman writes on "God's plan to overcome your past, redeem your pain, and rewrite your story". This is a big topic, and while not exhaustive, his Biblical details and experiences demonstrate that he has been shown how grace works through his own life. I love his chapter titles and how they contrast two character traits "More Forgiving Than Your Guilt" and "More Beautiful Than Your Brokenness", being the first two. Idleman writes in an informal lecture style and sets apart important quotes every couple of pages.
My favorite chapters dealt with grace and mistakes, brokenness, and regrets. Reading this book reminded me of when I read through Future Grace by John Piper, and while not as extensive, the content was encouraging. Idleman deals with other such topics as remorse, repentance, communities (of grace), forgiveness, obedience, repression, vengeance, gratefulness, and so much more. All backed by Scripture, personal examples, or testimonies of others who have lived, given, and received grace.
Idleman shows us how grace is greater, and how we all need it. He defines grace, explains its purpose, demonstrates its necessity, and gives grace through his writing. Grace isn't something we pay for, earn, hold back from others, or just forget about. We may not ever see examples of it around us, but we have a God of grace who daily showers us with it. We receive grace without asking, but for it to truly be grace received, it must be grace shared.
Grace is only grace if it goes both ways. Receiving it from God but refusing to give it to others isn't an option.
People who repress resentment over hurts they've received tend to see everything through a negative lens.
...ultimately what matters most, what people need most, is God's forgiveness, not ours.
God's power is attracted to weakness. His grace comes running to those in need.
When a story has been spoiled, it's easier to follow and understand. We lose some of the suspense, but perhaps knowing how it will end allows us to not just endure the journey, but actually enjoy it.
God is good. Grace is greater.