Amazing Grace, Part 2

23 Feb

I feel like I should at least update you on my health since that’s why most of you started coming to this blog in the first place.  :) Thankfully, my health news is pretty boring right now.  Aside from a wicked case of allergies due to an unusually warm winter, I’m doing well.  Really well.  Next week is the CT scan (Wednesday) and first maintenance chemo (Friday).

Yesterday, we talked about the formal definitions of grace and also considered the idea of whether we have to earn grace or if it is freely given.  Thankfully, it is freely given by God.  Whew!  However, it is not always freely given by us, though, and especially by me.  That’s where we pick up with today’s discussion.

So, we receive grace from God – awesome!

What are we supposed to do with it once we get it?

That’s the key!  We should to give grace to others – just as God has given grace to us – with no strings attached, no questions asked, no stipulations on the grace.

In return for our gift of grace, we are supposed to give grace to others.  But that is not always easy to do, is it?  (Well, speaking for me, I know it’s not alway easy.)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Grace is something that God gives to us frequently (if you need it often like me!) and freely AND it is something that we should also give frequently and freely to others.  The first part of that sentence, we readily accept as truth, right?  The second part of that sentence we may know in our hearts to be true, but are slow to put it into practice.

I find it so challenging to extend grace to others ALL the time.  Sometimes, it’s easy.  A guy cuts me off in traffic and instead of honking my horn at him like I want to, I just let it go.  A colleague waits until the last minute to ask for my help and instead of berating him/her for waiting so late, I simply help.

Sometimes, the very last thing I want to do is treat someone with grace, even though I know I should.  Why is that?  If something has been given to me, why is it so hard to give it to someone else?  I’m not sure I have the answer to that.  Sometimes my pride gets in the way.  Maybe I’m in a bad mood and would rather be angry than gentle and full of grace.  Maybe I don’t think the person deserves grace – but isn’t that the whole idea behind grace in the first place?  Maybe I think the person should have to earn my grace.  But…if we can’t earn grace from God, what makes us think others should have to earn it from us?

How should grace impact our lives?

Jacqueline Winspear said, “Grace isn’t a prayer you chant before receiving a meal.  It’s a way to live.”

If we have a heart of grace, we see people differently.  We don’t see their flaws, we choose to see their beauty.  We don’t see their failures, we choose to see their successes.  We don’t see see their weaknesses, we choose to see their strengths.

If we live as if we truly believe that God’s grace covers our lives, then the result of that would be a life that generously gives grace to those around us.  Let’s face reality.  We encounter people throughout our lives (if not daily!) who we do not feel deserve our grace.  However, we should act on what we KNOW to be true and not on how we FEEL at the moment (ahem, Rachel, listen up, girl!).  Because we have been given grace, we should, therefore, give grace – an undeserved favor.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:24

I’m not always successful with this, but I’m trying to get better at it.  When tempted to give a graceless response or reaction, I try to remind myself that maybe I don’t know the whole story.  Maybe they were grumpy because someone was mean to them.  Maybe they cut me off in traffic because they honestly didn’t see me there.  Maybe they didn’t mean to say that or didn’t even realize they hurt my feelings.  There are so many maybes, and even if they meant to be grumpy or cut me off or hurt my feelings, I should still do my best to extend grace because it’s an undeserved favor.

I want my heart and my mouth and my hands and my life to be so full of grace that my default response or reaction to someone is grace-filled and not one that automatically assumes the worst.  That is my prayer.

Have a wonderful Thursday!  Be sure to come back tomorrow because we have a special guest post by Florence from Perks of Cancer!
♥ Rachel


6 Responses to “Amazing Grace, Part 2”

  1. tranquilmomentsphotography February 23, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    You have a good attitude on life. It is difficult to keep in practice and I have to constantly remind myself of grace but I think after awhile, it does become second nature and you are more “at peace” with yourself and the world. Glad to hear you are doing well. Have a great day!

    • rachturner February 23, 2012 at 9:28 am #

      Thanks, Daphne! You know, like I do, that it’s not always easy to keep a positive attitude – but all we can do is try, right?

  2. Cancer Warrior February 23, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    So much dis-ease in our body can be traced back to emotional roots. I believe that years of stress was the largest contribuing factor to my cancer. To “release” the cancer, I believe that I need to go back to the roots… of these for me was holding on to resentments. Therefore forgiveness is a huge part of my healing strategy……and an important part of living life with grace. Thank you Rachel for this thought provoking post.
    Cancer Warrior

    • rachturner February 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

      Flo – I don’t think many of us truly realize the impact our emotions and stress can have on us physically. I’m glad that you are embracing forgiveness as part of your healing. That’s a huge blessing to come from your cancer diagnosis. :)

  3. Susan February 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    I have had a really tough life and it has taken me a very long time just to forgive. I admire you for your grace and wish I could be more like you. Trying every day. Cancer has changed me and I do look at things differently now.

  4. rachturner February 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    Susan – I’m so sorry you’ve had a tough life, and now cancer. I struggle with grace, just like you do and I’m PROUD of you for trying to improve those things in your life that you want to change. Cancer is not good, but sometimes it brings about good things. I am keeping you in my prayers!

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