Grace: the unmerited favor of God; receiving that which we don’t deserve.
We can’t do enough or be good enough or live well enough to earn the grace God has given. It’s why verses like this mean much to us as believers:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Not from ourselves. Not of ourselves. Not through ourselves.
It isn’t about us at all. Grace is entirely about God and His love. But somehow, though we have been given such great grace so freely, we are stingy with it. We demand grace be given according to our need and yet we resist offering that same grace to others.
It happens in our homes, on our jobs, in our communities, and sadly, even in our churches.
“The pastor’s sermon just wasn’t as good as normal.” “Why can’t my husband just do what I asked without my having to remind him 400 times?” “I am so tired of having to pick up the slack for my coworker. Is it really that hard to do what you are paid to do?” “Can you believe that waitress? How hard is it to get a simple order correct. Her tip just went down to nothing.”
But what if you knew that the pastor had been at the hospital all night comforting parents whose child had been in a car accident and was in a coma? Or what if you knew your husband was very worried about your family’s finances and wasn’t sure how to bring it up to you because he didn’t want you to feel bad?
What if your coworker was distracted because she is caring for her elderly parents and not sure how to manage all the extra responsibilities that has brought? And what if that server mixed up your order because she had been up all night with a sick child but couldn’t afford to take the day off to recover?
Does that make a difference? Should it? Truthfully, not a bit.
Our extension of grace should never be based on our feelings or understanding of a situation. Instead, we are called to give grace because we have received grace.Our extension of grace should never be based on our feelings or understanding of a situation. We give grace because we have received grace. Click To Tweet
Jesus calls us to love — and sometimes love is hard. But love is also the most visible evidence of our relationship with Him.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” John 13:34-35, NIV
Here are three reasons to be generous with grace:
We give grace to show love. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:11
We give grace to prevent conflict. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. Hebrews 12:15
We give grace because are called to serve one another. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10
Am I saying this will be easy? Nope! It won’t. In fact, giving grace is hard. Giving grace requires laying down self and giving priority to others. Giving grace necessitates that we let go of our expectations and focus instead on encouraging others.
But time and again, I have seen this truth: Grace multiplies! The challenge for each of us is to give grace.
Time and again, give grace! Not because “they” deserve it but because you didn’t deserve it either.