Grace is Free, But It's Not Cheap

This is a great video from People of the Second Chance

What a beautiful account of grace...of mercy...of forgiveness, plain and simple.

As I reflect on this video and the concept behind the movement, I can't help but remember Anne Taylor's Saint Maybe, which a book I had to read at Duke Divinity School under the guidance of Stanley Hauerwas.  In that book, "The Church of the Second Chance" features prominently, as a place of radical forgiveness.

I found an except of the book over at a commentary on Matthew 18 on the cost of forgiveness by Carl Gregg:

As the story goes, one day a plate glass window attracts Ian’s attention as he walks down the street. The window reads, “The Church of the Second Chance.” He can hear a hymn being sung by inside. He almost keeps walking, but instead quietly enters the church, and slips into a back pew, hoping not to draw too much attention to himself. After the service is over, Pastor Emmett introduces himself to Ian. As they talk, all the emotions Ian has been holding inside the past few weeks flood to the surface. He begins confessing to Pastor Emmett.

Pastor Emmett: What’s wrong, Ian?
Ian: I don’t even know where to start. So much has happened so quickly. It started when I told my brother…I told my brother that his wife was cheating on him. And then later that night…he drove into a wall.  Then a few days later his wife overdosed on sleeping pills. So I guess you could say I helped cause that too…more or less… He’d had too much to drink that night. I guess I shouldn’t have told him. But I was really mad. I’d been babysitting for him and his wife. And she should have been home hours ago. She made me miss a really important date with my girlfriend — or at least it seemed important at the time…. Now I’m not even sure she was cheating on him…. I mean I’m pretty sure she did in the past…. I know I wasn’t totally wrong….  So it looks as if my parents are going to have to raise the children. My sister’s busy with her own kids and I’m away at college most of the time…. Everything’s been dumped on my mom and I don’t think she’s up to it — her or my dad, either one. I don’t think they’ll ever be the same after this…. So anyhow, I prayed to God for forgiveness.  And I honestly believe it might have worked….  Oh, it’s not like I got an answer in plain English, of course.  But…don’t you think? Don’t you think I’m forgiven? I mean, I thought God forgives everything. But I just don’t feel forgiven.
Pastor Emmett: Ian, you can’t just say, “I’m sorry, God.” Why anyone could do that much! You have to offer reparation — concrete, practical reparation, according to the rules of the church. Jesus helps us do what we can’t undo. But only after we’ve tried to undo it. You, for instance, could begin by raising the children.
Ian: Raising the children? But I’m only a freshman? I’m away at college most of the time.
Pastor Emmett: “Then maybe you should drop out.”
Ian: Drop out? Drop out of college? …This is some kind of test, isn’t it?
Pastor Emmett: Ian, it’s not that simple. But God does want to know how far you’ll go to undo the harm you’ve done…. How else would God know?
Ian: Wait. You’re saying God would want me to change all my plans and give up my education?”  …That’s crazy! I’d have to be crazy! I can’t take on a bunch of kids!  Who do you think I am?  I’m nineteen years old! What kind of religion is this?
Pastor Emmett: It’s the religion of atonement and complete forgiveness…. It’s the religion of the Second Chance.

There's a rub here.

With video and The People of the Second Chance, it seems like the forgiveness, the second chance is completely free, nothing required, pure grace.  Could it be "too cheap?"

With Pastor Emmett and "The Church of the Second Chance," it seems like forgiveness has strings attached, is costly.  Could it not be "free enough?"

I struggle with this. 

I want to live in the forgiveness and grace of God but I'm not sure how much that forgiveness should cost me so that there is a purging of my sins, so that I can more readily be able to receive the gift that is given.  This has always been a struggle for me.  I've always struggled with forgiveness. I think going back to my childhood it's been a struggle for me.  I've always been more comfortable showing grace than receiving it.

So, how can I receive the free...but not cheap...grace of our God?

Or, the question I prefer to ask, how can I offer it to others?