Does Christianity encourage laziness? The whole concept of Grace you often speak about lets people off the hook too easily. The Bible says faith without works is dead and Jesus said all trees that bear no fruit will be chopped down and thrown into fire. The reason people are so lazy and under-motivated is because they are always told they’re some special person while no one really is all that special. So how does telling them God loves them help deflate their ego?
So occasionally I get questions like this that make me wonder: Do you really care what the answer is? Are you trolling right now? Are you baiting me into a trap? Have you ever struggled alongside real hurting people? Are you teachable enough to see where you went wrong here?
Christianity encourages laziness just as much as atheism provokes genocidal baby-eating evil — which is to say, you can take any issue and spin it the way you want, and you end up with a simplified straw man that makes ya looks so smarts.
This is a “deconstructive reductionism,” like when movie nerds reduce a movie plot into a laughable writer’s room. It doesn’t add to the discussion, at all.
I love you bro and I say this knowing we might just misunderstand each other: but you’re probably taking the Grace of God and reducing it to a parody of itself, which I would reject too: because it’s not really grace.
Still with me? Grace is not so much any one action or rule or attitude, but grace is more of a story about broken people being loved and healed.
Let me tell you about my first pastor. When I first came to church over ten years ago, I was a stubborn thick-headed horny atheist who was looking for hot Christian girls. I hated the sermons but I kept coming back: because there was something about this pastor.
He endured with me. I asked him tons of annoying questions about God and the Bible, but he answered them patiently. I screwed up a lot: I slept with a few girls in the church and confessed them all, but he never flinched. He called me and texted me when I never replied. He bought me lunches, dinners, books, and sent cards to my house. He spent hours praying for me. He never once lost his temper with me.
Over time, I realized how much of a jerk I was to him. I didn’t listen; I was late all the time; I got drunk and went to strip clubs on Saturday nights before strolling in hungover on Sundays; I hardly asked how he was doing. BUT: he was endlessly loving. And the grace of this man completely melted me. I’ve known him now for thirteen years, and there’s no way I could be the person I am today without him.
I remember small moments. When one day I was horribly depressed, and he wrote me a letter right in front of me. When I got out of the hospital from swallowing a bottle of pills, and he listened without judging. When I was sobbing hysterically one day and he gripped both my hands and told me, It’ll be okay. God still loves you and He will never stop.
Even now, my eyes glisten and my heart swells at his sacrifice. His grace fundamentally ripped away my selfishness and disturbed my ego. I deserved nothing and he gave me his all.
You get it, right? Out of gratitude, I came to love my pastor: and I realized I would do anything for him. When you love a person, nothing is off the table. And when you realize this person loves you back no matter what, you will be alongside them for eternity. There’s an endless freedom and security there found in nowhere else.
But why was my pastor this way? Because of Jesus. It all pointed to him: and as much as my pastor loved me, Jesus loves us infinitely more. I began to understand that grace is a love-relationship, a journey, an adventure, a story of a restless human heart who can only find wholeness in Christ.
That’s why grace is an enduring narrative that never really ends — because it will always be about a big picture filled with little moments, instead of a principle or philosophy or theology.
If this bothers you: well it should. No one naturally likes grace. It feels too easy, and certainly some people think they can abuse it. But grace in and of itself can’t be abused anyway, because it’s a gift given freely regardless of how it’s received.
When someone unconditionally loves you despite you with no end in sight, it changes you. The only other option is to beat you up with religion and rules, which can’t sustain you for your whole life. While grace takes longer, it will become a part of you in a way that moral conformity never can.
Without grace, we’re just clocking in our daily tasks until we “feel holy” or we’re desperately trying to hit an arbitrary standard. With grace, we a have a limitless love that provokes us into the same kind of love. It changes not only what you do, but what you want to do. It turns nobodies into somebodies as long as they remember they’re nothing who received something.
That’s the only truth that could ever motivate someone to anything. We work hard, but grace empowers every effort.