Humpty Dumpty on Glory

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” ~ Lewis Carroll

When I’m grappling with a concept that’s too large for me, I often begin with synonyms and antonyms. Synonyms can help but they can also be misleading. Similar doesn’t equal same or even interchangeable.

I started this blog a year ago with the idea that I wanted to immerse myself in a concept that I knew was too foreign and fine and big for me to understand. There aren’t any synonyms for God’s grace. What could possibly parallel God’s free gift of unmerited favor?

Grace is contra-intuitive. I was more familiar with its antonym: indebtedness. I knew all about gifts with strings.

Sometimes it helps me understand what something is, by looking at what it isn’t.Grace isn’t logical or fair. That makes us uncomfortable. We, who call ourselves Christ-followers, are so afraid of it that we treat it like it’s a sin contagion. We have to quarantine grace to keep it from spreading.

Just like Humpty Dumpty’s use of glory as a nice knock-down argument, we’ve turned grace into something you say before you eat. It’s contained that way, not much danger of catching it or passing it on.

It’s as if we believe grace is something we made up, giving us the right to define it. The thing we keep forgetting is that grace was God’s idea. And when God uses a word, it means what He says it means – neither more nor less. He intends for it to be caught and spread. Grace is His gift, no strings.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

17 thoughts on “Humpty Dumpty on Glory”

  1. Wonderful post Debbie, keep on preaching grace! Maybe some don’t need to hear it because it makes them think to much! I need to hear about it…thank you!

    Grace in today’s world including churches is nothing but a fake, a mockery of what grace is meant to be.
    People are willing to give you grace…as long as it costs them NOTHING. As long as your “sin” was no a big deal, you can have grace.

    Grace that costs you nothing at all ever…that is not grace, that is a cheap shot at the heart of the One who gives us Grace.

    *stepping down off of the soapbox now*

    Peace and grace to you Debbie

    1. Greg –
      I love your soap box – just feel free to step right up on it anytime!

      I dislike sin scales, even more than the bathroom ones.
      When we see our own sins as more or less than another’s, I think we completely lose sight of grace.

      Heidi and I taught communication skills for 20+ years. We wrote, oh I’m guessing, 30-40 seminars and at least a couple dozen that were 6 hours long.
      We kept trying to come up with new ways to talk about listening and hearing and sharing.
      I guess I’m doing essentially the same thing here – trying over and over to take a new run at Grace, Hoping to see it a little more clearly myself. 😀
      Thank you for your kindness my friend,
      ~ Debbie

  2. LOVE this! “When God says a word it means what HE says it means”–yessiree. I think it’s becoming more and more common to hear people say what THEY think God’s Word means–and boy, is there a wide spectrum of choices. God bless you, Debbie, from the abundance of His Grace–much love, sis Caddo (who now has a long drive home, what with all the blog construction…yawn)

    1. Dear Sis Caddo –
      I live in Texas. I live right in the middle of a drug smuggling route between the border and Houston.
      I live with rattlesnakes and tarantulas and scorpions and black widows. I’m not afraid of much anymore.
      People who speak for God – now that scares me.
      That’s part of why I rarely quote scripture (although I am in my next post). 😉
      It isn’t because I don’t read it and study it and believe it. I just think He does a fine job of speaking for Himself.
      Drive safe – make sure you slow down for those construction workers – the fines are huge!
      much love and continued grace,
      ~ Debbie

  3. I once went to a Single Parent Sunday School class that couldn’t be included in the church bulletin list of classes because, “It might make everyone want to get divorced if we made it look like an option.” OK. Try asking any single parent how much fun it is to do that! Giving the grace to us by including our class in the options was just too costly. It might cause sin if we admitted that it happens and that people can accept each other even if they don’t all have partners and have survived the rigors of death or divorce. (Is that one category or two?) In this case acceptance and grace were used sparingly and as rewards that could be earned if you followed the prescribed path. If grace were freely given to the divorced, what might follow? Grace might get out of hand.

    1. I know all too well what you went through. I was shown no grace when I separated and divorced, except from the single parents group. I was offered the opportunity to join the group by the leader, and was told that I didn’t belong there by the pastor. I was without a spouse with two young boys during a two year separation and felt that I didn’t fit/belong anywhere in my church of 9 years. I was told that if any other women separated from thier husband, I would be held responsible. I have a close relationship with the Grace Giver away from those who talk of it but don’t give it.
      I’m so glad I was able to share that…whew! : )

      1. Dear Sue –
        My sweet friend – how this breaks my heart.
        Thank you for telling a part of your story.
        You and Heidi and your vulnerability say so much more than my stumbling words.
        I’ve lost a few readers because I’m “topically challenged”. 😉
        Who wants to read about Grace in every post?
        Even if no one reads, I’ll keep writing about it so that I don’t begin to forget, even for a day or an hour, what it took me 50 years to begin to get.
        I can’t thank you enough for sharing here. It means the world to me and maybe some will read your words and see themselves.
        much love,
        ~ Debbie

    2. Heidi –
      This is why I harp. This is why I write about grace over and over and over. I know that people get tired of reading about it. I also know more people who have left the church because of the kind of experience you describe than any other reason. We are a grace-less society. that’s a given
      But we are also, for the most part, a grace-less community of believer. That shouldn’t be a given, but I get letters every day, confirming just that.

      Other than the deep hurt caused to you, the saddest part of your story is that it isn’t the least bit surprising.
      Acceptance and grace, meted out as a reward for “good conduct” has to be one of the main reasons that the church, as a whole, has so little impact in our society. It isn’t a lack of good preaching, it’s a lack of good reaching.

      I’m sorry this was done to you in His name.
      “Grace might get out of hand” – that’s exactly the fear.
      I’m so thankful you allowed the Author and Finisher of our faith, to restore yours.
      Your friend,
      ~ Debbie

  4. Thank you for keeping us reminded of what grace is, by His definition. Gracious one, it’s like I start thinking somehow that I deserve it, and someone else doesn’t, when they are hurting me in some way. I forget how much I hurt Him. God bless you as you turn grace loose and spread it freely! love and prayers!

    1. Dearest Deb –
      I think it’s possible to get too much of most things – even things that are good for us. But I don’t think there’s such a thing as too much grace.
      You know how they teach telemarketers to smile so they sound more pleasant on the phone? Sounding more pleasant doesn’t mean their insides are changing (although it might be a great start).

      Talking about Grace is a great start. Living it all day every day – that means my insides will have to change to keep up. That’s my prayer – that not just my words, but as you say, my thoughts be grace filled.
      much love to you and to our Aub,
      ~ Debbie

    1. Dear friend –
      As I suppose is often true, the hardest part to swallow is the part I need the most.
      If grace were fair – I wouldn’t have any because I’m certainly right up there with Paul in the chief sinner camp.
      Liking grace was the first step for me. Living will be the challenge of every future step.
      I’m thankful for the grace and love you share with me all the time,

    1. Dear Susie –
      Oh yes!
      Gifts with strings aren’t really gifts – just ploys.
      But being bound to our Father is safety and security and hope – not a thing like a dangling carrot. 😀
      love to you as you settle in your new place and in His arms,
      ~ Debbie

  5. Wise and beautiful as always. YES! You are right!!! So right. I know for a fact that we all have that “before dinner” definition of Grace stuck in our heads! Not to say it’s our fault … hey, we’ve “SAID” Grace forever. The scene (and table) is set: We Say Grace THEN we get to eat: STRINGS from the get-go. I still find it hard to be given grace freely. More easing up on myself to be done. Would Harper begrudge me his one-lick game? OK, now i’m going to cry. Grace be mine 😉 love, mel

    1. Sweet Mel –
      Oh yes, how often we’ve SAID grace.
      But saying and doing are 2 really different things, aren’t they?
      I’m confident God gave you Harper so you could finally hold grace in your arms.
      love to you,
      ~ Debbie

      1. I can’t get the image of “silly string” out of my head now. At least that stuff evaporates (i think). Anyway … just trying to be mindful of grace: accepting and giving, or giving and accepting: From my HP … and for him???

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