It’s the silence in the elevator waiting for the doors to open.
It’s going in for a handshake, but he was giving a fist bump.
It’s asking Matt how his day is going, only to have him respond, “I’m Mark.” It’s uncomfortable. It’s uneasy. It's awkward.

Leaning into the
Uncomfortable with Grace

Sometimes that’s just how life is—filled with little moments where the social grease has suddenly disappeared and the gears are grinding, just a bit, just enough to make you wince and wish you had done it differently. Often, we feel uneasy about these moments as they are happening, but later, we can laugh about it with others—almost glorying in our little embarrassing situations.

We commiserate with others because we know these moments are inevitable parts of life. However, awkwardness isn’t just for moments. It also describes strained relationships. A long-time friend you’ve let drift away. A co-worker you embarrassed. A spouse or family member you hurt. The relationship has changed: conversation doesn’t flow as smoothly as before, small things feel bigger, everything has an edge. It’s uncomfortable, uneasy, awkward—the gears keep grinding with no grease. And while it’s not beyond repair, you know it will take some work, and you wonder if it’s worth it.

And what’s more, there are awkward ideas. Truths that don’t fit into tidy little boxes; concepts that don’t meet all our expectations of how things ought to go. Theologies that bring tension instead of ease. Beliefs that go against the grain of what other people make look so good, and you wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to let go. Awkward relationships and ideas. It almost makes you wish for merely an awkward moment. (Quick, to the elevator!)

The letter of 2 Corinthians is written in these sorts of circumstances. To read it is to step into a strained relationship, with much wrongdoing and insults, grieving and insecure apologies. There are remnants of competing theologies and ideas grinding against each other, with one being the easier, more preferable option, and the other more difficult, but right. It’s uncomfortable, it’s uneasy, it’s awkward. Yet, it’s not a relationship without hope. They aren’t beliefs beyond correction. Rather, it is going to take a lot of work; more than that, it will take God’s grace. Following Christ isn’t always smooth, easy, or tidy, but it is good and it is true. Often the Christian life is awkward, so we need to lean into the uncomfortable, with grace.