As we add years to life, we acquire labels. Some are labels to be proud of: graduate, husband or wife, scientist, writer, musician, mother or father. Some labels we’d just as soon peel off and discard but we can’t: unemployed, divorced, stubborn, chronically ill, alcoholic. Andy Stanley looks at grace and its intersections with labels. He goes through stories in the Bible and studies the people. For example, he relates the story of Rachel, whose label was “harlot.” We learn about Rachel helping the Jewish spies. She’s praised in both the Old and New Testaments for her faith. We find no record that these men judged her, tried to change her lifestyle, or dismissed her as inferior.
The point of Andy Stanley’s book about grace is this: “The reality and the
embarrassment your label reflects is not an obstacle to God’s grace. You, like
Rachel, are invited, label and all.” We are all welcome to join God in a
relationship, no matter what labels we own or don’t own.
Grace “allows us to honestly face and carry our pasts but without being
controlled by them.” This book helps us take an honest look at living with our labels.
After showing grace in several Bible stories, Stanley summarizes his thesis on the
final pages of his book: “In God’s story, you are the focus of a celebration. Not what you’ve done. You.”
It may take a lifetime to begin to understand this truth; it will certainly take
constant work to extend this kind of grace to those around us. Nothing is more worth our focus day by day.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com http://BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.