Grace Misunderstood

by

les misOn a recent business trip I took the opportunity to listen to my favorite musical, Les Miserables, while driving. It made the time go buy quickly and I’m sure people laughed as they drove by watching me sing. But, I didn’t care.

If you are unfamiliar with the story it takes place during the time leading up to the French Revolution. The lead character Jean Valjean, was imprisoned for stealing bread to feed his starving family. Valjean creates a new life for himself as a businessman after a priest takes him in, gives him food and shelter and eventually confirms Valjean’s story that the silver (which he stole) was a gift to him when confronted by inspector Javert. Javert is the lead policeman who tracks him down throughout the story and catches up with him only to either have him slip away or once, even let him go.

Valjean was given a second chance by the priest who granted grace for stealing silver from his family. The priest also told Valjean that he prayed for his soul. Valjean took this grace and changed his life for the better. He began doing things for people and for community and enabled other less fortunate people to better their situations.

As the French Revolution begins, Javert is captured by the rebellion as a spy and is handed over to Valjean to “do what he wants with him.” Javert immediately expects to be killed by his captor who has chased him for decades. Instead, Valjean lets him go free. Javert can’t understand or accept this as he spent his life assuming that his way of law was the way of God. To owe a debt he couldn’t repay to someone whom he considers beneath him tore at his character and he committed suicide.

Both were offered grace. Both reacted differently.

I am offered grace. How do I respond? How do I live it out? How do I share it?

You are offered grace. How do you respond? How do you live it? How do you share it?

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