What if I had told her once how to gently say NO but since she didn’t listen to me the second or third time I just slapped her back? Would that be ok? Of course not! As a mother, I extend grace to my child and patiently (sometimes not) tell her how to say NO in a nicer way.
This is a perfect picture of what Christ does for us and what we are called to do for others. Grace should be extended freely and often times it needs to be extended more than once…whether we like it or not! Not because the person deserves grace over and over again….but because we are followers of Christ. To be FOLLOWERS of Christ, we need to live and freely give GRACE.
Growing up I often was assured of God’s grace in my life. By His grace I have life and a family and he has graciously forgiven me time and time again when I haven’t deserved it, etc. As I have gotten older I have continued to ask a question among my Christian circles…”Why is it so hard for US to extend grace?”
Many of you know that in 2012 I was faced with my own unplanned pregnancy. I knew that things would be difficult and I knew that I would take some “heat” for my circumstances but I never imagined the hurtful and hateful words that I received from many Christians. The world ran to me with open arms. The problem is that they always will! If we, as Christians, don’t extend grace and respond in a Christ-like manner when other Christians face the consequences of their sinful behaviors, the world will ALWAYS win. The world will always welcome us and our sinful behavior. In the world there is no need for grace!
As Christians, we should strive to be the best grace-extenders. Too often men and women sit in the pews of churches silent about their past abortions or past sins because they are AFRAID to open up, afraid to be shunned, afraid of the hurtful words that Christians so often extend to other Christians. Did Jesus say “my grace is sufficient for you if…?” NO, He said my grace is sufficient for you. Why is it that we are often eager to extend grace to those who “don’t know any better” or “don’t know Him and His commandments” and yet we are hesitant and often unwilling to extend grace to those who “knew better?”
We need to live by grace so that when situations, circumstances and consequences arise with people in our family, our church and our community, the FIRST place that they will run to is the church…those who model their life after Christ- the ultimate grace-extender! No longer will men and women silently sit in our pews afraid to reveal their truth; instead they will know that no matter what we will accept them, love them and extend grace to them as they make positive changes in their life. We will no longer beat them up for their failures but share of grace, hope and forgiveness so that they will walk in newness of life. What if THIS was the church?
Christ says we are the church. We are His hands and feet. In order to be his hands and feet, our hands must reach with GRACE…because anything other than grace would be a misrepresentation of who our God is.
Today I choose grace. What do you choose?