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Give Grace

October 20, 2010

Grace … receiving what we do not deserve.

We cling to this verse:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.   Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV

Not from ourselves.  Not of ourselves.  Not through ourselves.

We can’t earn grace.  We don’t deserve grace.  It is the gift of God.

But somehow, though we have been given such great grace so freely, we are stingy with it. We demand grace be given according to our need and yet we resist offering that same grace to others.

It happens in churches.  A lot.

The pastor’s sermon isn’t as well delivered as I’d like.

The worship leader doesn’t sing the same words as are on the screen.

The Sunday School teacher is distracted and the lesson isn’t very good.

The nursery worker failed to change the baby’s diaper before I picked her up  so she was wet.  Very wet.

No one spoke to me during the welcome time.

But what if you knew that the pastor had been at the hospital all night comforting parents whose child had been in a car accident and was in a coma.

Or what if you knew the worship leader had received a call early Sunday morning that his best friend’s wife had left him.

What if the Sunday School teacher hadn’t studied because he was laid off last week and was just having a hard time figuring out how to trust God in the midst of his fears about providing for his family.

And what if that nursery worker hadn’t changed your sweet baby’s diaper because she had spent time comforting the child of a visitor who had never been to church before.

What if the people who normally speak to you didn’t because they were checking on a young widow who was back at church for the first time since her husband’s tragic death.

Does that make a difference?

Should it?

Truthfully, not a bit.

Our extension of grace should never be based on our feelings or understanding of a situation.  Instead, we are called to give grace because we have received grace.

And, this is never more true than in our local faith families.  Jesus spoke to this truth plainly:

“A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35, NIV

Love gives grace … willingly.

We must give grace in our words.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.  Colossians 4:6 NIV

We must give grace to prevent conflict.

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.  Hebrews 12:15 NIV

We must give grace as we serve.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.   1 Peter 4:10 NIV

Am I saying this will be easy?  Nope!  It won’t.  In fact, giving grace is hard.  Giving grace requires laying down self and giving priority to others.  Giving grace necessitates that we let go of our expectations and focus instead on encouraging others.

But time and again, I have seen this truth:  Grace multiplies!

And so my challenge to you is to give grace in your church.  To the pastors, the leaders, the teachers, the nursery workers, the technical crew, and to the people in the pews.

Time and again, give grace!   Not because “they” deserve it but because you didn’t deserve it either.

Have you seen grace multiplied in your church?  How can you give grace this week?

{I’ve also written on this idea of giving grace relating to online relationships for Gather Inspirit.}

 

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2010 8:13 am

    Teri Lynne, thank you for this reminder today! We are so quick to forget what God has given us. Richard Blackaby has written an awesome book on this very topic: “Putting a Face on Grace.” It’s a must-read for anyone that wants to delve more into this topic or needs a little help giving out a little of the grace we have received. Hmm.. I think I may read it again!

  2. October 20, 2010 12:24 pm

    Beautifully written, this one and the one over at Gather Inspirit. I really needed these messages on grace today (well, every day!) Thank you!

  3. October 20, 2010 2:37 pm

    Teri Lynne ~ I’m awed by how gracefully you handle this topic! Beautiful and needed post. Love how you said, “Our extension of grace should never be based on our feelings or understanding of a situation. Instead, we are called to give grace because we have received grace.”

    • October 20, 2010 4:10 pm

      You are very kind, Stephanie. Learning to give grace has been (and remains) one of the greatest challenges in my life!

  4. Julie Sanders permalink
    October 21, 2010 1:40 pm

    Yes, grace does multiply. And it’s such a great reminder that I don’t deserve the grace extended to me.

  5. October 24, 2010 11:20 pm

    Grace is one of my most favorite topics. And one of the most beautiful things in existence to me.

    You are so right that we often take grace for granted. Or, I think it can something that just plain goes unnoticed, as well. It’s so, so beautiful and truly amazing when we realize (and remember) that it is undeserved, unearned, and unwarranted.

    I love this line, too: “Instead, we are called to give grace because we have received grace.” That’s it, isn’t it?

Trackbacks

  1. Truth, Justice, and the Congregation’s Way? « Scripture Dig
  2. If we are the body… « Scripture Dig

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