There really is something to this grace thing. I take you to a scene in Walking Dead. That’s right, the zombie show.
So anyone who has followed it knows this love-hate relationship with Merle and Daryl. As their names might suggest they are a bunch of white rednecks with bad, neoNazi-like attitudes who you really love to hate. Mostly Merle because he’s a total jerkface with messed up morals and only cares about himself and his brother, who of course acts as an extension of himself. As long as his brother is doing what he tells him to do, everything’s good.
Fast forward through seasons of character development and this odd cult-like obsession with Daryl as some kind of romantic hero (I’ll admit he has his moments of brilliance) and you find that under it all, he’s really a great guy. he comes to realize that family isn’t just his blood ties with his narcissist brother, but also the family the zombie apocalypse has forged together. He comes to value humanity and knows that we truly need each other to survive and to make a society worth surviving in.
***WARNING: SPOILER TO FOLLOW… dont read if you are planning to watch and have been paying no attention so far***
So there’s this scene when Daryl sees Merle coming at him… as a zombie. Its heart breaking and gut wrenching… um, somewhat literally. And turns out Daryl is actually a great actor, as you watch his face go from horror to pain to mourning to fear to anger and back again. He has to kill his brother, someone, for all his flaws, really does love him and wants to protect him – I mean he loved and protected him pre-zombie state – and whatever else Daryl felt for his brother, the distrust, the sense of betrayal, the pain of their past, in that moment, you knew, he really did have a hard time beating his brother’s head into a bloody pulp.
Because the real enemy isn’t another person. It’s sin. We often cannot separate sin from the sinner and so we take it out on both. We end up loathing the person instead of remembering who they should be – and who they are if they claim the identity of Christ – and it takes a special kind of grace for us to see beyond the behaviors of sin, the attitudes of sin, and the narcissistic tendencies of sin to see another person, to mourn their bad choices, to be angry with the consequences, but to still truly love and embrace the person who is redeemed and being made holy by that same grace.
And if you will, when people around us act like zombies – all instinct and survival and what’s best for me and screw you behaviors – we would do well to remember that grace which turns hearts from stone.