Remember the song, Amazing Grace?
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I'm found.
Was blind but now I see.
Have you ever thought about what these words really mean? This tells us that through the generosity and love of God, we are given undeserved favor and blessings despite our sinful human nature. That is certainly something to rejoice over! However, grace is not given to you in vain. It is not given to you as a permanent get out of jail free pass to so you can do whatever you want and shout “Jesus Paid it All!” afterwards. Grace is given to you for a few reasons:
For you to repent and grow – Romans 2:4 “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
For you to experience God’s love– John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
To humble you – James 4:6 “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
For you to grace others – Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to others who hear.”
Let’s focus on reason #4: Gracing others. We live in rough times where people are primarily concerned with themselves. We don’t leave room for pardoning people’s mistakes, mishaps, or lack of knowledge on things. This attitude creates an environment of divisiveness, which is dangerous for this time of rampant evil and attacks on our faith.
Have you ever (be honest) turned your nose up at someone because you felt like you would NEVER be caught in their situation and don’t see how they could be so stupid to end up there? NEWSFLASH! A lot of us are just a paycheck away from being out on the street, a semester shy from a higher degree, an argument away from being single, one sketchy night out from losing our faith, a burger short of gaining the weight back – you catch my drift.
Christians are called to be salt and light to the earth at all times. Although we may be at different points in our walk, we are one body in Christ and we should be helping each other. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Think about the times when you need a little grace and mercy from your sister in Christ. Isn’t it as refreshing as cool water on a hot summer day? We should be reaching for each other in order that we all may walk uprightly instead of boasting about how WE succeeded or quickly telling people what they should do. That’s actually rude.
Know this foundational truth: We are all sinners who all fall short of the glory of God and none of us are in any position to condemn the path God has others on. We each have been given a set of skills and talents to use, as well as, unique trials, tribulations, and bad habits that we need to be delivered from. 1 Peter 4:10 says “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.” Our gifts were given to us in order that we may serve God and serve each other.
Here are a few easy ways you can start gracing others:
Think beyond what you see. Did your coworker, who normally speaks to you, walk past you without speaking today? Still smile and speak to her the next day. You don’t know what kind of stress she’s under or what unsettling news she just received.
Listen to the whole story. If someone sharing a story with you that can’t relate to or that you find troubling, don’t judge them for their decision or actions. In addition to listening to the details, listen to what’s not being said. Do they possess destructive behaviors based on a rough childhood? Did they experience trauma that they are unaware of that still affects them?
Remember that God has graced you too. Maybe you’ve overcome a few obstacles in your life or have experienced tremendous personal growth. Remember you owe that to God and not your own merits. He has seen you at worst and gave you grace in your immaturity to overcome that rough season in your life.
We are NOT better than anyone else but we ARE in this fight together!