I saw Les Miserables a couple of days ago. I had seen it on Broadway years ago and the movie adaptation did not disappoint. I remember sitting in that theater in New York City and sobbing through most of the musical and having that same reaction in the movie theater here in Nashville. If you see it, and I highly recommend you do, have plenty of tissue on hand!

Les Miserables – translated from the French as The Wretched is a beautifully heartbreaking story of law versus grace and redemption.

It chronicles the lives of Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert and how grace and their acceptance of it shapes them. Valjean accepts the gift of grace offered him in the midst of his sin and turns his life around, proving that even the corrupt can find redemption. Javert on the other hand, is all about the law. He respects the law above all else and spends his life relentlessly pursuing Valjean. He just can’t believe that people can actually change. He is offered the same gift of grace as Valjean but never accepts it. He can’t reconcile his belief in the law with the unexpected and undeserved gift of God’s grace in the midst of his struggle.

That’s the rub isn’t it? Law and grace simply can’t be reconciled.

Law is all about rules and regulating our actions – enforcing these rules by the imposition of penalties. Law is about black and white, right and wrong. Putting us in the impossible position of following the law to win His favor in a world comprised of various shades of gray.

Grace is the spontaneous gift from God to man – generous, free, and totally unexpected. And completely undeserved. It comes in the form of divine favor, love, and most importantly, clemency. Grace finds us at our worst, at our most unlovable and lifts us out of our wretchedness. Grace is the compass by which we navigate this world shaded in gray.

I’ve always been a black and white kind of girl. Big on the rules and the letter of the law. This past year, His grace has turned me upside down, opening up a whole new world of beautiful shades of gray.

Beautiful only because of His grace.

 

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me . . .
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see.
 
 
“And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works (law);
if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
Romans 11:6

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