Grace is such a beautiful word. A wonderful gift from Abba Father. It’s a gift we should keep giving to the imperfect, broken and hurting around us, but before we can do this, we need to first understand and receive it from the Father.
I’ve written about grace before, but I’m finding it is something we can never quite grasp, or fully appreciate. When was the last time you shed tears because of God’s grace extended to you? When was the last time your brokenness brought you to your knees? Do you recognize your own failures, and are you quick to ask broken-hearted forgiveness from the Father?
God’s grace never overlooks unrepentant sin. Grace is God’s unmerited favor as manifested in our salvation. His blessing. Since God never accepts or condones sin, grace should never be viewed as a license to sin. However, I believe God realizes we are fallen humans living in a fallen, broken world. He looks at us through eyes of love, mercy, and compassion as we struggle to please Him.
Each of us are undeserving of this incredible gift of grace. And when we don’t totally grasp the meaning of grace in our own lives, we tend to become judgmental and critical of others. This is why the “feel-good-about-yourself “gospel” can be detrimental. There’s a balance between living as a defeated, condemned Christian and the “grace-overlooks-my-sin” mentality.
I love this quote from Ravi Zacharias, “One of the most staggering truths of the Scriptures is to understand that we do not earn our way to heaven…works have a place-but as a demonstration of having received God’s forgiveness, not as a badge of merit of having earned it.”
When we confess our sin, grace is what wipes away the guilt.
Ministering to the men and women in prison has helped me to both understand and show grace in greater depths. Recently, as we were singing in a men’s facility, God gave me a little glimpse of grace. On the outward, I saw a man who looked and acted like a woman. But I was able to look deeper to see the heart of a little boy who was deeply hurt and broken. I realized that if I would’ve walked in his shoes, I may have made the same wrong choices as he did. We shared about the grace and forgiveness of the Father. As we did, I saw tears streaming, in spite of him trying to hide them.
Grace toward others involves showing love and compassion. Grace moves beyond the condemnation and sees the pain. Grace recognizes that everyone longs to be healed, understood, and redeemed. Grace, combined with truth, gently and lovingly shows others a better way. It removes the sting from our tongue. The condemnation from our heart. The accusation from our eyes. Grace treats others as we’d like to be treated. Grace enables us to respond in compassion rather than react in disdain.
How well are you demonstrating grace to that person who’s hard to work with? To your spouse who’s being insensitive? Your child who’s ignoring your wishes? To your church or family members who don’t understand what you’re going through? To that person who’s simply unloveable?
God’s grace should move us to graciously respond to others. Seeing through eyes of compassion. A heart of love. As well as moving us to repentance.
Is grace affecting you as it should? My heart cries, “Oh God, help me to more fully understand and receive Your grace. Then enable me to be a conduit of grace to others.”
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)