You’ve heard this: Give me back your man-card, usually after a statement like Twilight wasn’t that bad or I need a fork for these hot wings or Nothing less than 500 thread count sheets.
In hundreds of conversations with veteran pastors, new seminarians, drug addicts, ex-cons, single moms, high school drop-outs, and lonely outcasts: It’s easy to tell when someone has given away all their grace-cards.
It’s the slightly clenched inflection in their voice.
The head shaking back and forth with too much relish.
The blame, the shiny perfect version of themselves, the mocking of the other person’s voice.
The re-telling of so-called horror stories: And so he was like — And she goes — And can you believe that?
The constant demonizing, generalizing, categorizing, contempt-disguised-as-pity, the seething disgust and bitterness.
Never an insight into another’s point of view, never an empathy from another’s perspective, never even a half-sincere attempt at trying to understand upbringing, culture, wounds, and influences.
Or it’s just as simple as never mentioning the word grace.
I imagine the angels in heaven, right before Jesus was about to save the world by first heading to the earth as a baby in a manger, and all them telling him, “Don’t do this. Not for these people. They’ll ignore you, despise you, betray you, torture you, and kill you. You’ll come out of the grave and they still won’t believe you. Don’t do this, Jesus. Not for them.”
And Jesus telling the angels: “Give me back your grace-cards. Maybe you’ll get them back after you stop some car accidents or draw my face in more toast.”
Where is the grace?