Are you grace-gifted or justice-gifted?
It was a question posed in a discussion group. At first, I thought it was a sarcastic question, but as I read some of the responses, I realized it was serious. Or at least many were taking it seriously.
I read on and began to understand the general flow of responses. Those who are grace-gifted claimed to err on the side of showing compassion, patience, and forgiveness. Those who are justice-gifted err on the side of accountability. In some ways, grace-gifted seemed closely tied to optimism or a glass-half-full perspective. Justice-gifted seemed closely tied to realism or suspicion with a conditional glass-can-be-half-full-if-everyone-behaves perspective.
Someone suggested God gifts us for one or the other. I wondered if I had missed something in Scripture. I don’t remember grace and justice being listed as fruit of the Spirit or spiritual gifts—unless we make a connection to mercy and exhortation. I know the lists in the Bible aren’t the only characteristics and gifts God fosters in us. I know we have some strengths that are different than others’. I know we reveal different fruit and growth in varying seasons of our lives. It seemed a bit of a stretch or over-simplification to say each of us is either grace-gifted or justice-gifted. As I read more responses, my concerns deepened. I sensed some people were justifying their actions or inactions based on their assessment of how God had created them.
But that’s not new. We’ve been doing that for a while.
- God has given me this gift and passion, and I need to pour what I have into this area, but thanks for asking me to serve. It’s just not my thing.
- I’m waiting to serve. There’s not an opportunity right now to serve in my area, so I’ll just wait and jump in later.
- I’m glad other people are gifted for that, so I don’t have to do it.
Grace and justice are both integral, inseparable parts of God’s character. He created us in his image. We’re never going to be able to express grace and justice with the fullness and familiarity that God does, but that doesn’t excuse us from either. I know he grows us in different ways in various seasons. I know he gives us areas of strengths and weaknesses. I also know he wants us to trust him to grow in us what needs to be grown and challenge us to express our strengths and weaknesses in ways that honor him.
You might feel as if you lean toward one or the other. Perhaps it’s not a tension of grace and justice as a couple other characteristics of God. Trust him to reveal even the areas in which you feel challenged. Express his gifting only as he invites. God is the only one who truly gets the bigger picture and knows you inside and out, past, present, and future. You can trust him. He wants you to trust him.