What does grace look like?
How many times do we wish people would not take too seriously, our failures? “ If only they would cut us some slack, they would see that we are human.” We can beat each other down to a pulp, by nitpicking every wrong thing the other does.
The past is always very hard to forgive, let alone forget. I’m speaking to myself as well, because I don’t forgive easily—like pulling teeth. I have worked out my long-term memory muscles hard enough, to contain most offenses. Yet, I’m in need of grace as much as I need to give it. We can’t give what we have never received. Within us is a storehouse of all sorts of good and bad things. We decide what to offer others, from the abundance of our hearts.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.15 John bore witness to Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ” 16 [And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1).
This is a sweet storage given to us, of The Lord Jesus’ fullness. He didn’t give us a third or a pint, He gave of His fullness—grace for grace. So there’s more than enough within us to go around.
Laws don’t have grace, they reveal how much we have fallen short and how much we deserve what’s coming to us. When we remember that we have totally blown it because we broke God’s commandments, we feel unworthy. See, when one feels like this, they see no need for association. But then there was grace, and it was so refreshing to know that the slate was wiped clean, by the sacrifice of the Holy Lamb of God.
Grace is stimulated by truth. No making excuses for ourselves or others, but admit fault, willingly. Grace isn’t cheap—it costs the giver to pay for peace. It’s value is worth the truth and nothing less.
14 “Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3).
The Lord has always been gracious to His people. He desires repentance, because He is gracious. Grace and love compel Him. While we love to see others suffer for all the wrong they have done against us, God prefers reconciliation. Falling from grace is betraying someone’s trust, by failing to do the right thing. But who among us is perfect? Grace gives love another chance. It reassures that in spite of all the flaws, we still belong.
29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ 31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found (Luke 15).’”
God is in the business of repairing the broken, and restoring the lost. We are children of our Father, if the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I need this message as much as the next person. Being a Christian is very hard because it requires us to not walk in our flesh but in the Spirit of God, in us. This is what love looks like– it is the great sacrifice on that Cross. It will hurt to give grace, but it’s what we received in great bounds.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5).
Who would have thought that “Grace” could be a secret formula for being perfect. How can anyone have faith that love works, except it is put to the test of grace? It transforms us and the offender. It’s at the core of Salvation. Grace made us justified, while we were sinners. It reconciled us while we were enemies. But for grace, there would be many broken spirits for not passing muster,and many broken relationships without a sense of belonging.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (Romans 5).
In a world where many have lost hope, an act of grace could bring healing, peace, and restoration. It costs the giver, but it’s also a cost we never had to pay for our reconciliation to God. We can only give what we have already received. We also need grace at some point in our lives, so lets give it generously.
38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you (Luke 6).”