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!