Such Amazing Grace

IF I COMPARE MYSELF to some people on this planet—past or present—I come off rather well. I’m no Bin Laden. I’m no corrupt Washington politician. I’m no murderer or drug pusher. I’m no Hitler or Pol Pot or Stalin or Idi Amin.

Yes, for sure, I’ve messed up in a lot of ways. But when I compare myself with even some of my friends and acquaintances, I’ve certainly done nothing worse than they have.

But this kind of comparison will get me nowhere. The only comparison that matters is how I compare with Jesus. And when I honestly do that, I have to go to the end of the line and stand way behind Paul, who said he was “the chief of sinners.”

When I get a glimpse of just how totally saturated I am with selfishness, it’s a wrenching and discouraging revelation. All I can say is, “Thank God for grace!” For grace in the form of pardon—and grace in the form of power to change.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,” wrote former slave trader John Newton in his famous hymn. Late in his life, no longer able to see, Newton recalled with profound remorse his long-ago involvement with slavery. He spoke to his friend William Wilberforce of the “20,000 ghosts”—people he had helped enslave. They had “beautiful African names,” he said. “We called them with just grunts—noises. We were apes; they were humans!”

“I remember,” he told Wilberforce, “two things very clearly: I am a great sinner—and Christ is a great Savior.” Through his tears, a now-sightless Newton declared in the words of his great hymn, “I once was blind—but now I see.”

“Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.”


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Sharon Mary on June 17, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Profound. Beautiful. I want to keep these words close and access them in thought often. Thank you.


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