"Some people ask, "Where is the church when it hurts? But if the church is there doing its job...bringing comfort and relief...then people aren't going to sit around scratching their heads wondering, "Where is God?" Because God is evident in His people."
Bestselling author Philip Yancey recently spoke with Focus on the Family's Jim Daly to talk about grace, the church, and showing compassion to those who are hurting.
In discussing his new book, "Where is God When it Hurts," Yancey stated that living by grace, as the Bible commands, is counterintuitive for most Americans.
"The world doesn't run by grace or fairness....grace is a different force where [you say], "you hit me I turn the other check." When it happens we're to stop in awe. Jesus came to teach us a different way of being human; Christians are called to be different, to show grace."
He referenced Nelson Mandela, who, instead of taking vengeance on his oppressors, ruled under the belief that "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
Yancey revealed sobering statistics displaying that most Christians fail to display this kind of grace to their peers.
"In 1996, 85% of non-Christians had a favorable idea of Christians. By 2010, that had fallen to 16 percent, and only 3 percent had a positive view of evangelicals," he said. "I don't think we're communicating much grace."
Philip Yancey has sold over fourteen million books and is one of the leading evangelical authors of today. However, the Georgia native wasn't always a Christian. Following multiple negative experiences including losing his father from polio as a child, he lost his faith at one point, renouncing the church and religion of any kind. However, after attending Columbia Bible College and meeting his wife, Janet, he rediscovered his faith through the witness of the Christians around him.
Because of his personal experiences, Yancey encourages Christians to make an effort to love even the most unlovable.
"The Bible's basic commandments are to love God, and love your neighbor as yourself," he said. "Jesus found a way to become one of us. He didn't talk about fairness-grace is unfair. It's about God's generosity."
"The Christian community struggles in giving love well...Jesus died for this grace. The sinner who stumbles twenty times--Jesus still loves them and died for that sin," he continued, "Grace isn't' cheap, it's free. It's an absolutely free gift."
The author concluded with encouragement for Christian parents struggling with children who refuse to embrace their parent's faith.
"Don't punish yourself, don't blame yourself, there is not a perfect parent, every parent makes mistakes, and see to it that no one misses the grace of God," he said, referencing the Biblical parable of the Prodigal Son.
"Keep showing love, keep showing grace, and keep that door open," he said.