February 4, 2021
The storyline is so familiar now. A kindly grandfather in some quiet town is found to be a gangster living under an assumed identity. A civic leader loses her elected role when her history is revealed behind a different name. We shake the dust off polished shoes in not-so-righteous indignation, for we prize honesty, we say.
And yet, we know this story well. Before we learned to count or read, the orbit of our life was willful, proud, and self-involved. To these we added faults we chose—the cruelties of school playgrounds; the teenaged gossip that cut worse than any knife; the damage done our bodies and our minds through substances and time ill-spent. Our failures ran much faster than our years.
And then, one day, the Father offered us a new and strange identity: forgiven sinner; healed outcast; prodigal brought home. He wouldn’t let us take a lesser role, but righteously insisted we accept our place as sons and daughters deeply loved.
So now we live with this assumed identity, and struggle with the Father’s robe we feel ineligible to wear. He is relentlessly insistent on this new life He’s given us: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean” (Acts 10:15).
To feel unworthy never means that we are unforgiven. Grace is the way we’re learning how to live within the Father’s house, enjoy His love, and welcome other prodigals back home.
Put on the awkward robe of grace. And stay in it. -Bill Knott