Having been raised in the Protestant Work Ethic, the problem with free grace is just that: it's free. There's something about free that seems to bother us; for one thing, because we've been taught there's no such thing as a free lunch, we always look for the hook. I remember working in a leisure ministries progarm on the Michigan thumb one summer. We were at a street fair giving away helium filled balloons with the name of our ministry on them. I was surprised at the number of parents who wouldn't let their childen take a balloon because apparantly they thoutht we would preach to them or ask for a donation, something. The thought dawned on me that if we have this much trouble giving away balloons, it's no wonder we can't give away grace.
The idea of free grace has come home to roost in my partial retirement. This week I actually took off the days I am not supposed to work--and I found myself feeling guilty for not working. Yes, I had accomplished all the tasks I was assigned, and then some--but somehow the idea of being paid (drawing my retirement) for not working is just so foreign to me I have trouble accepting it. We are supposed to work for what we get--or so I've been taught, and I'm not working for this.
Yes, I know it's supposed to be the reward for all the work I've done in the past; but somehow that just doesn't fly. I've been working for 47 plus years, and I guess I just can't quite get it out of my system.
I am beginning to see why parents had trouble with free balloons, and why free grace can be so hard to give away. There is something in us that wants to earn, or deserve, what we have--and when we feel we have neither earned nor deserved it, it's almost like stealing it. Let's face it, even Christmas and birthday gifts are expected to be reciprocal. What do we give to deserve God's grace? Nothing. It's hard to accept, harder still to understand, but that's simply the way it is. God loves us not because of who or what we are, but simply because we are. Like drawing my retirement pension, I guess I just have to learn to be blessed with it.
Blessings to you.