The Broadway sensation Hamilton is sweeping the nation again as it opens its story up to the masses via Disney’s streaming service.
In watching it again (don’t ask how many times!), there’s always one song that sticks out to me: “It’s Quiet Uptown.” Without giving too much away, Alexander Hamilton and his wife Eliza experience a betrayal that fractures their marriage. Every time I listen to it, I’m reminded of my continuous fracturing of the relationship I’ve begun with Jesus. I want you to see some of the lyrics, below:
There are moments that the words don’t reachHamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda
There is a grace too powerful to name
We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable
They are standing in the garden
Alexander by Eliza’s side
She takes his hand
Forgiveness. Can you imagine?
“A grace too powerful to name.” I love how that was written into this story because it echoes so perfectly the posture many of us have when it comes to sinning as a believer. I think many Jesus-followers struggle to understand how God could love someone who continues to miss the mark, and I think that we don’t talk about it enough.
There are usually three camps that people who realize this tension sit in: 1) those who downplay the severity of their actions, 2) those who spiral downward, unable to get out of the enemy’s tactics, and 3) those who point their finger elsewhere to find blame.
Below, we’re going to talk about why we can’t let ourselves live in these three mindsets, without judging these types of individuals or putting them in a box:
1. Myth: I can live my life how I want to because Jesus loves me.
First, and I have to make this clear: Jesus loves you no matter what. His love is not fragile; God’s decision to love you is not dependent on your actions.
When someone says, “….because Jesus loves me,” this person is trying to get out of the consequences of their actions because they think God’s love is a “hall pass.” They’re right to say that God’s love comes with a bucket full of freedom, but they’ve misplaced this freedom.
Paul says to the church of Galatia, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Galatians 5:13-14)
It would be such an unfulfilling life on Earth if we served a God who didn’t hold us accountable. For believers, we have to let our conscience be consumed by the Holy Spirit so that we feel the gravity of what we’ve done, but let our hearts be lightened by the promise of redemption through him!
2. Myth: I’ve messed up and crossed the line – there’s no way Jesus will take me now.
Unlike the first person we mentioned, this is what happens when we live in our conviction and forget that God’s love is not only a never-ending well, but a reminder to push forward.
I have to be honest, this is the type of person I level with the most because I’m hardwired with the need to be good, right, and just. So, when I fail, my heart weighs extra heavy. The blessing here? Paul reminds the Romans of it, saying: “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 3:22-25)
Notice that?? All have sinned. All fall short. And this redemption can only be received by one thing: faith. Our good works are wonderful in his eyes, but that doesn’t change how he loves us. Paul reminds us that God doesn’t show favoritism (Romans 2:11).
To live in this mindset and to let your thoughts swirl down into dark places is a ploy of Satan. He wants to remind you that you’re not good enough; that you couldn’t possibly be wanted. Step into the light and accept that you are a child of God and nothing could ever take that away from you – not even you.
3. Myth: It’s not my fault – only God can judge me.
A close cousin of the first individual, this one comes from lack of intentionality to know the heart of God. You might associate this as someone who doesn’t walk the walk, but talks a good talk.
I want to be careful to encourage you not to point these people out in your life, but simply use them as an example of misplaced confidence. Like the first individual, they had the idea, just misguided the application.
In another stunning lesson to the Galatians, Paul says, “I have been crucified in Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Their confidence is justified; they’re right to say that only God can judge them… but what they’re really doing is using it as a shield to deflect the wisdom of others. If you’re living your life full of misplaced confidence, you’re trying to live an Instragram-driven, highlight-reel life instead of the real thing.
So, who does God want us to be? When we sin, he wants us to remember that we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). We are set apart.
We learn a similar lesson in Hamilton: It’s okay to mess up. It’s just not okay to live in it. God’s grace is above anything we could ever imagine or experience on this earth.
Forgiveness… can you imagine?