I plan to write a series of articles on grace. It seems to me many Christians seriously underestimate the extent of God’s grace.

A group of teenage prisoners in America played football in a team called the Tornados.* They played against other high school teams in the area. One of the teams the Tornados played against was a Christian school and the coach from this school had an idea.

It was the last match for the season and he knew that no one ever came to support the Tornados —no family, no friends—to cheer for them. So he wrote an email to his school community asking them to come to the match and support both teams. To fill the visitors’ stands as well as their own stands.

A simple request led to an amazing outcome. The school community responded and came in droves. They cheered and shouted for these young men who were considered to be a burden on society. They showed love and grace towards those who were usually disregarded. These prisoners had broken the law, maybe even hurting the very people who were cheering for them and as a result they were deeply moved, some even cried. They knew they didn’t deserve such support. But that’s the truth about grace, it means being given something we don’t deserve and cannot earn. It’s a beautiful picture of what God does for us. God cheers for us, even though we have no right to expect it. We’ve broken his rules and failed to measure up to his standards for our life. Nevertheless he is on our side, cheering for us, supporting us and being there for us. When we open our hearts to his overwhelming grace we suddenly find ourselves changing, because the surprise is, it is not punishments or resolutions that change us but rather it is grace. It changes us from the inside out.

*Thanks to Jeff Goins for bringing this story to my attention.