Grace was made for losers like you and me.
Truly. It is so perfect for us.
Because grace, as some define it, is “unmerited favor.”
This means we can do nothing to deserve it. See? This is great news for the underserving! It’s something for nothing, and we losers have too much of nothing, right? (And it makes us ill at ease. Tee-hee.)
A fabulous example of grace is Ralphie’s dad in the film A Christmas Story, when he gives Ralphie the Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Ralphie has done nothing to deserve this ultimate gift. In fact, he has done a lot of rotten things!
- He is mean to his little brother.
- He abandons his friend Flick in the snowy schoolyard with his tongue stuck to a light pole.
- He lies about his friend Schwarz to save his own skin and gets Schwarz in big trouble.
- He beats the snot out of that bully Scott Farkis.
Ralphie is a bad brother, a bad friend and a bad son!
Yet on Christmas morning, he receives the gift he’s been dreaming of. By the unmerited favor of his old man, he is made the happiest of boys.
That’s grace. God’s love poured out lavishly on us, despite all the reasons we don’t deserve it. It’s not a Red Ryder BB Gun, but it does guarantee us a lifetime of joy in the presence of One who knows us wholly and loves us completely.
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” says the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:8. While we were still the kind of losers who betray our friends, abuse our siblings and beat the snot out of our enemies, Jesus Christ laid down His life in a sacrament of love for us.
And it’s yours, right now, no matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done. Anne Sports, author of the beautiful novel How Thin the Veil, says that when God looks at us, He doesn’t see broken or whole — or even good or bad — He sees “Mine.” We are His not because of anything we do or don’t do, but because He made us, and He loves us. Period.
The incomparable Robert Farrar Capon says that God didn’t need us, because He was complete in the Trinity. But He wanted us … the same way we don’t need fine wine and rich chocolate, but we want it. We’re His fine wine, beloved because He made us and wanted us and delights in us. And it’s nothing to do with us. We don’t have to be good to get this grace. We don’t have to be deserving to get this grace. We can be the biggest darn losers in the world, and He still looks at us with eyes of love and says, “Mine!”
And this acquisition of grace is one area where we losers have the big advantage over the winners of the world. Because you can’t get grace by deserving it, you see? The winners are used to the accolades they deserve. They know they can be smart enough, good enough, strong enough to get what is rightfully theirs! But grace is something that nobody but Jesus is smart enough, good enough or strong enough to get … It can’t be gotten by deserving it.
So if you’re a loser, and you know it, you don’t think to yourself, “I’ll do some of my famous good works, and God will love me!” Because you don’t have any famous good works. You got nothing. But the good, strong, smart winner person can easily fall into the trap of believing their good works will get them some grace. “Ha-ha winner! You can never get it that way!” we losers laugh. (Because we’re bitter and snotty about the winners, really.)
Grace is there for all of us, winners and losers alike, but it’s easier for the losers to get it, because we know we don’t deserve it. In the grace-getting competition, at least, we can be the winners. There. Don’t you feel better about yourself already?