Let's look at some definitions for a minute. Justice is getting exactly what you deserve. Mercy is not getting a punishment you deserve. Grace is getting a blessing you don't deserve. We do not deserve God's blessings. We did not deserve salvation, but God gave it to us by His grace.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We have been shown much grace by God. Salvation alone would have been enough grace. Yet He continually shows grace when we totally mess up. He gives us grace when we do or say something that is displeasing to him. He even gives us grace when we leave his flock for a season of sin. He graciously and lovingly welcomes us back.
On the flip side, we are expected to show grace to others. Boaz showed grace to Ruth as she gleaned in his field. The king showed grace to Esther as she asked for the lives of her people. Hosea showed grace to Gomer when he brought her into the family house a second time. David showed grace each time he passed up an opportunity to kill Saul. Likewise, God expects us to show grace in our daily lives. The more we know about God and his word, the more grace we are able to bestow on others.
Occasionally I remember a time when I was shown grace by another person. More often than not, I remember a time when I chose not to show grace to someone. Oh, how God must have shaken His head as he watched me fail, once again, to show the love of God.
A few years ago, I was taught grace by a young college student. The church was helping her go to college. Several of us were acting as parents for guidance. We learned that one of her roommates stole $8,000 from her bank account. She was advised to file charges. She was advised to take the roommate to small claims court. She was advised to contact the girl's parents. She spent a lot of time in prayer about how to handle the problem. One Sunday morning, she was home for a visit. I asked her about the situation. Then I asked, "What did you do?" She said, "I wrote a letter and told her I forgave her. I thought it was time for a little grace."
Oh, the lesson I learned that morning standing in the parking lot. Could I have done what she did? No, I don't think so. I need to work on giving grace.
Here are some things that I can do to show grace:
- Speak softly and kindly
- Apologize sincerely when I hurt someone.
- Accept apologies with a sweet spirit.
- Forget about 'pay backs'.
- Look for and fill the needs of others, expecting nothing in return.
- Go out of the way to make someone feel welcome in my home and church.
How can I learn to do these things?
2 Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
With God's help, I will grow closer to Him and share more grace with others.