We live in a harsh world. It is not just our differences and the polarization of our society but it is the attitudes that accompany our differences. Attitudes of derision, anger, ill will, verbal assaults and relational separation. Such a context makes it all the more remarkable to meet people who practice the grace of Jesus toward others.

Extending grace to those we think don't deserve it is the most counter intuitive act we could perform. The only reason we can do this is that we recognize God did the same for us and we of all people did not deserve His grace. Not then and not now. But He extends it regardless because that is who He is.

Grace is wonderful when extended to us by God and others. It can be inconvenient when we are called to extend it to those around us. Especially those who irritate and anger us. Those who have hurt or failed us. Those who have committed some sin that we can condemn them for because it is worse than our own sin (in our eyes). But the thing about grace is that it is by definition unmerited favor. It is reserved only for those who don't deserve it. And none of us do! 

I had an uncle by the name of Warren. I always loved to be in his presence because he was a person of grace. Never condemning, always loving and accepting. There was no hint of condemnation in him. In this he was like Jesus. And very different from many Christ followers I know. 

Personally I don't believe the church has much of a greater understanding of grace than the rest of our world. We can be just as condemning, exhibit the same animosity toward those whose views do not match ours and perhaps even more judgmental of others since we can use the cudgel of Scripture to put others down. And we do. Just listen to the conversation of many. 

Of course we have a Scriptural excuse. We need to be people of grace and truth like Jesus was. We are very good at the truth part, which is where our attitudes of judgement come from. But we are very weak at grace, extending unmerited favor. 

And we forget that even when sharing truth, Jesus was normally very gentle: the woman at the well; the woman caught in adultery; the rich young ruler. Our truth can be hard and cutting. His was soft and gentle which made it all the more remarkable and caught his audience off guard. Even His truth was filled with grace. Truth if not communicated with the fruit of the Spirit is not God's truth.

I no longer assume Christ followers will be people of grace which makes it all the more beautiful when they are. While I too fail at it many times, I want to learn to be more like Jesus in this - and my uncle Warren. And to live out the admonition of Paul in Ephesians 4:32-5:2. "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

That is grace! Who can you show some grace to today?

  • Sep 18, 2018
  • Category: News
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