Thursday, August 22, 2013

Giving grace

I must admit that I can tend to be stingy in my extending of grace. This is a major area in which I need major work. Although I know the immense blessing of living a life bathed in grace, I sometimes forget that I need to give that same grace to the people around me.
My troubles comes when people do things that hurt me. It can be a comment, a look or an overall sense that I am not being treated properly. Instead of extending grace to these "offenders," I take an attitude of dissatisfaction. Why are they treating me this way? What did I do to deserve this? I start blaming a flaw in their character or a lack of spiritual understanding as the cause of their behavior. I get inwardly defensive to what I feel are an onslaught of unwarranted rude and uncalled for behavior. My attitude in response to theirs becomes one of defense instead of one that is pouring out love.
This response is devoid of grace. It doesn't take into account the difficulty that the person in question might be facing or the stress that may be weighing on their mind. Maybe they don't have any  difficulty or stress to speak of. But that doesn't let me off the hook when it comes to giving grace. Their attitude is theirs to deal with. My attitude is to be one of grace, no matter how I am treated.
When I think on the lyrics of Amazing Grace I am humbled and brought to repentance for my lack of grace. There is a version of the song that says, "my chains are gone, I've been set free..." Isn't it amazing that God has given me grace that is allowing me to live my life free and redeemed? Shouldn't I be showing this grace to the world, displaying for them the freedom that comes from a life lived through God's ultimate grace and forgiveness on the cross?
Each day I am living as a redeemed, saved child of God. And it is only possible because of grace. I did nothing to deserve it and I cannot earn it. God has given it to me freely, although it cost him everything. He was pierced by my wrongdoings and crushed by my sins, yet he doesn't hold me accountable. He has given me grace to walk as a freed sinner.
He desires that I live my life pouring out this grace to the world, so that they may see the amazing gift God has given with the death of his son Jesus on the cross. On my own human steam I am short on grace, weak on granting forgiveness. But God is not. He is mighty to save and full of abundant grace. He can pour it out through me, if I'll let him.
My prayer this morning is that today, and everyday, I will be a vessel delivering God's grace to a world that is full of judgment and contempt. This world is in desperate need of God's grace and he has asked me to show it to them. May I be filled with him so that I can overflow onto each and every person I encounter.

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