Kyle Idleman titles his latest book Grace Is Greater: God’s Plan to Overcome Your Past, Redeem Your Pain, and Rewrite Your Story. Kyle, teaching pastor at southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, uses Hebrews 12:15 as the inspiration for his book. The verse reads: “See to it that no one misses the grace of God.” However, our familiarity with the word grace creates a problem. Society’s frequent use of the word grace makes it so common it ceases to amaze us. Consequently, when we miss grace things become toxic, and a bitter root begins to grow. Thus, we must face the truth that we’re worse than we want to admit. But, God’s grace is greater than we could’ve imagined.
Pastor Idleman asserts we best and most fully understand grace “not by way of explanation alone but through experience.” Furthermore, our ability to appreciate grace directly correlates to the degree we acknowledge our need for it. For if we cover up sin, we cover up grace. Therefore, Kyle stresses, we need to confront this hard truth. Before we collide with the grace of God, we must collide with our own sin. In fact, the author coined the phrase beautiful illusion for the moment God’s grace finally catches up to someone’s mess. God doesn’t give up on you. It’s never too late.
Yet, grace is a two-way street. Because grace flows, it’s not an option to receive grace from God, but then refuse to give it to others. Hence, Pastor Idleman defines the litmus test of grace as “the extent to which you give grace and offer forgiveness to the person who’s hurt you the most and deserves it the least.” Also, extending grace and forgiveness constitutes more than a decision we make. It’s a journey. Living in grace means releasing your pain to God. In other words, while letting go of what happened to your isn’t fair, it is grace. So, you forgive and remember. And when you remember, remind yourself: “I forgive that.”
In conclusion, Kyle observes that complaining is the rival of grace. Therefore, to help you give thanks in all circumstances, Pastor Idleman suggests, reverse engineer God’s grace in your life. Specifically, find reasons to be grateful for God’s grace at work (1) in situations you’d like to change and (2) in much of what you’ve complained about in the past. Since God authored your story, trust that grace has the final word. Kyle summarizes:
“Life is hard. God is good. Just keep reading. Grace is greater.”