Tim Bohlke » // writings

Broken by Grace

I recently saw the movie “Les Miserables.”  I had seen the previous films and the Broadway play, but there was something about this re-telling that really struck me, and I don’t think it was the voice of Russel Crow!

The film paints such an incredible picture of the internal battle of how to understand and live in the reality of grace.

The worldview taken by the character Javert is rigid, legalistic and completely inflexible. It is a view that just cannot accept the freedom that grace brings with it. It is driven by rules, consequence, formulas and routines. He carries a heavy load.

Then there is Jean Valjean. His life is one filled with grace, forgiveness, freedom and passion for people’s stories. The load he carries is very light. Both characters seek God for strength but one crumbles when the weight of freedom stands in contrast to rules and law. The other thrives with the same freedom. Valjean understands that real grace and authentic forgiveness can be life changing, where Javert cannot see, let alone comprehend, its impact. One man is system-driven  with a very narrow focus, and the other is people-driven, with a much wider view of the world around him.

I have  found that when radical grace is extended real movement happens. This is when hearts turn, this is when people take necessary steps. It seems grace is a catalyst, a force, propelling people and stories and spilling over to extend that same compelling invitation to others.

Some people believe that if you offer grace people will take advantage and run over you; they will do what they want to do and ask for forgiveness later. But I have seen time and time again, most importantly in my own life, that amazing grace breaks people. It creates movement.  It draws people. It is this indescribable, intangible thing that creates dynamic and deep change.

Amazing Grace. Brokenness. Forgiveness. Movement. This process has been true in my journey, without a doubt.

When you think of your own life, when have you seen this kind of radical grace create change and real movement?

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