Why is Grace So Scary?

In a recent FaceBook Live video, I posed the question to viewers, "Why is grace so scary?", and there was plenty of response.

In our church circles and Christian communities, often the word "grace" is whispered like some clandestine dirty scandal and we all start to tense up. I mean, if we show unmerited grace to our neighbor, or even crazier - from the pulpit - suddenly we've opened up Pandora's Box, right?

If we give grace, then people will just do what they want, and we can't have that! 


But what if our obedience to God is a response?

What if our understanding of grace and the gospel informs how we behave? What if, when we fail, as we do (and often), we know because the Bible tells us so, that He will never leave us or forsake us? And what if we give that same grace to others?

Don't be tempted to throw the baby out with the proverbial bathwater. Giving grace, forgiveness, mercy, and understanding to a fellow sinner doesn't automatically cross out the consequences of choices, sin, and action. There is a right and proper place for church discipline, but ranking people on a netherworld spiritual scale must not be allowed to lodge there. 

Is grace scary to you? Do you think you understand the grace of God? How does grace play out in your life?

Comments from viewers:

We somehow think that we keep God’s commandments by rewarding and punishing others. When we give grace, we give up control. Oh so scary.
— Melany
Grace is scary, because it means we have to vulnerable and authentic with ourselves and others. True grace can only be given when we are able to let others see the broken us. That is scary.
— Shanna
I think it is because we are driven by a misunderstanding of justice and we don’t fully understand the grace (and mercy) God has given to us.
— Amanda
Receiving grace can be scary! Since grace isn’t “earned” it feels like it is something that can be taken away. You didn’t pay for it, so there’s this feeling you may/should have to give it back. Does that make any sense? 
— Chelsea
I’m late in joining this conversation, but just wanted to add that grace can be terrifying for the person who’s been grievously sinned against, because of a misunderstanding of grace and trust. Grace is given freely, but trust must be earned. Some people have been harmed greatly by bad counsel, particularly in situations of adultery or domestic abuse when this distinction is blurred. Pouring out Biblical grace on others however, is beautiful, safe and healing! 
— Lindsey
I think it can seem ‘too easy’ like we can’t possibly be let off the hook for all we’ve done. Somehow, we, or maybe it’s me, think that I’m never able to make up for the mistakes I’ve made. If I can’t ever sort myself out, why or how could He accept me the way I am. Warts and all. But, then I come back to the obvious, that, that’s just what grace is. 
It ‘seems’ safe to have rules and a formula, and scary to have complete freedom. 
I guess that’s why it’s called faith? 
— Angela
I’m afraid of the absolute freedom. I want rules and restrictions- why?? I’m afraid I won’t have enough and that I’m not enough and never will be. Restricting ourselves as a means of control is NOT the same as being changed right? I think that is why grace is so scary. It feels too out of control. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not logical! My hard work hasn’t done anything? I didn’t prove anything to God? So what if magical grace fails? Nothing is left and it’s really hopeless now. Grace blows the doors off and offers total freedom right now whoever and wherever and whatever you’re stuck in. We have to believe sin is dealt with forever by Jesus’ blood.

Grace means I can fail. That’s the scariest. Which I know is ridiculous but that’s the hardest part of grace for me. Because I never wanted to fail even though I knew I was failing all the time. Grace is humbling and liberating. It’s wild- so against who I am. I read something recently (I need to find the reference in my notes!) along the lines “fruit trees do nothing to produce fruit expect take in the necessary nutrients.” The shackles of legalism would throw me against the rocks of Galatians 5 over and over. I was supposed to have all these fruits! How come I’m not reaching perfection? So God just loves me and sometimes he still cuddles the frazzled worn out rule follower in me much like we would an overtired, too much sugar and no nap toddler. He sets me straight. I’m enough. Grace is enough. You’re free in me. The good stuff. 
— Tessa