Human nature is funny. Typically, when a mistake is made, the situation is weighed to determine which route to take – did anyone realize it was me, can I get away with letting it be and not do anything to fix what I did? If not, how can I explain my way out of it, emphasizing my intentions around the actions, hoping to receive a favorable hall pass? Funny, because as suave as we think we are in maneuvering the clean-up of our own messes, when placed in the judge’s seat, we often don’t take the time to understand the full picture, and make judgements of others based solely on their actions.
Not our God.
He already knows our intentions. He already chose us and knows we are going to make mistakes (sin). Quite gloriously, instead of condemning, He gives us grace – the undeserved and unmerited love and favor when we truly deserve judgement (Psalm 103:10).
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ”. Ephesians 1:4-10. Emphasis mine.
How does grace play-out in the 2000’s?
In Christian circles, you might hear it used as a blanket of forgiveness: “my friends will give me grace for running late, forgetting the coffee cake, (fill in the blank),” and absolutely we will! But I think God also wants us to choose to spread grace a bit more often….
We are in the tryout season. For us it’s basketball, but the basics of this story can be replaced with anything from ice hockey to summer lacrosse, with an audition or a job interview. You know the drill: official dates scheduled on the calendar, muscle stretching and fervent practice for a few days prior, combined with prayers for successful sessions and offers to join. Then the waiting. The decision is received triumphantly or with tears and a broken heart. In our recent scenario, offers were handed out and a handful of talented children turned them down.
There was drama. There were inflated egos. Reputations were questioned.
Sigh…that was by the parents. The turned-down kids were distraught. The kids who went to other teams said words that stung. It was a mess. Days went by and side conversations swirled. Family friendships were questioned and trust broken. All of which was completely unnecessary.
My husband’s reaction was “give grace to the boys. They don’t know this isn’t the right response. Their parents are teaching this; how can we show them something different?”
WOW. Powerful and counter-culturally how God wants us to respond.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”. Colossians 4:2-6.
Both the Ephesians and Colossians verses were penned by the apostle Paul. Both mention the Mystery of Christ, which is God’s good news of salvation. The best part, our God is so generous, He doesn’t want to keep His gift a secret; in fact, God wants to offer it to all. He wants all ages, all genders, all religions to accept His gift of salvation and eternal life.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”. Romans 10:9
Twenty-five short words that mean absolutely everything!
If you are convicted like I am; if you feel lucky and blessed to receive the gift of grace from God, please take a moment to consider:
*How can I hand out more grace?
*How can I take one more kid under my wings and be a spiritual parent to them, showing different ways to respond and react when they don’t get their way, and how to be a kinder, more inclusive leader to those who don’t receive the desired outcome?
*Who is in my life that needs to receive grace from me? What situation needs unraveling so that growth can come from it? What can I do today to redeem it and bless them?
*Do I live a transformed life (Romans 12:2), using my unique gifts (Romans 12:4-8) and put my life to action? (Romans 12:9-13).
“Lord, I pray that You bring the people You desire to read this blog and to choose sharing the grace You so generously give. We desire more of our friends and family to enjoy the life You planned out for them. Please continue to open doors and salt the conversations, allowing us to share your love. Amen”.