Broken and desperate for grace

Published 9:56 pm Friday, March 3, 2017

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why people watch the Oscars. Then again, you may wonder why on earth people like me watch baseball.

OK, I get it. But the Oscars are so long. “So is baseball,” you say. But at least in baseball the players don’t get up to bat and pontificate about politics, the way so many do at the Oscars podium.

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Now, I’ve got you there!

I do like some movies, and one of the best ones I saw this year was “La La Land.” In fact, I liked it so much that I saw it twice, and I suspect I will watch it again at some point. It’s got great music, wonderful choreography, and the story is terrific.

Everyone expected it to win the Oscar for Best Picture this year, including those who were tasked with reading the name of the winner to a worldwide audience of a billion people.

By now you know what happened. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway read that “La La Land” had won Best Picture, but they were reading from the wrong card. In reality, “Moonlight” was the winner.

I haven’t yet seen “Moonlight,” and don’t know what it is like, but I do know this: Beatty, Dunaway and those who handed them the wrong card committed a gaffe that will forever be remembered.

Believe me, I wasn’t watching this when it happened. I didn’t know anything about it until the next morning. Even then, I didn’t want to see it, because I felt so horrible for those who made the mistake.

I’ve caught snippets of it, and it feels like watching a train wreck. It makes me feel embarrassed and humiliated, and I had nothing to do with it.

We feel bad when we see something like this, because we know we all mess up. We know our lives are full of gaffes. We blow it. We don’t get things right. More than that, we know that many of our failures are not innocent.

The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). That’s not an innocent mix-up. It is willingly doing our own thing, outside of God’s design.

Deep down, we know we are broken. We look around and we see brokenness all around us. We see it in the news. We see it in relationships. We see it in other lives.

But deep down, we know that the brokenness is not just “out there.” It is “in here,” in our hearts. We are broken.

But there is good news at the core of Christianity.

What if I told you that God became a human being to come and rescue us from our brokenness? What if I told you that the way he did that was by being broken for us on a cross? And what if I told you that he defeated death for us by rising from the dead?

I am telling you all that, and I am telling you all that, because it is true. It seems too good to be true, I know. But that’s why it is called “amazing grace.”

Our part is to respond to God’s amazing grace, by turning to Jesus as our Savior and King, and trusting in Him. He always gets it right.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.