I just finished listening to the audio book of Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.  A fantasic book that looks at the life of Louis Zamperini – an Olympic runner who gets drafted into the Army Air Corps.

***Spoiler Alert***

The book takes an in-depth look at the war in the Pacific and specifically the horrors of being shot down and captured as a POW in a Japanese prison camp.  There are simply too many amazing parts to this story to recap here, but I think the most amazing part is the end.  After the war, Louis experiences post-traumatic stress from his time spent as a prisoner under the unrelenting punishment of a prison guard known as “the Bird.”  When the war ends in 1945, he copes with it in the predictable ways (alcohol, reclusiveness, etc.), but it begins to tear his family apart. He is then confronted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the ministry of a young college president named Billy Graham.  When Louis encounters the grace of God, he lets go of the vengeance that began to consume him.  Zamperini finds the forgiveness he so desparately needs that would make no sense apart from the God who is there.


Good Behavior vs. Grace Behavior

“You need to shape up if you call yourself a Christian!”  or “Jesus will forgive me, don’t be so legalistic.”

Both of these statements reflect the two polar barbs that the Christian doesn’t want to get tangled up in.  How do we exercise balance here and steer clear of these extremes?

By walking in grace.  Bryan Chapell writes that in a Christ-centered life, “the rules of Christian obedience do not change; the reasons do.”

In other words, yes we are supposed to do the right thing…but for the right reasons.  It is a question of motivation.  The grace of God enables us to rely on Christ to please the Father, so we do not have to be concerned about offering the right sacrifice or working hard enough, or giving enough money.  We are now free to love each other without trying to get something in return.  “For Christ’s love compels us…” 2 Corinthians 5:14 and “God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7