People like to throw around the word grace as an expectation of what others should extend to them. We want to be graced when we make mistakes, receive it when we fall short, expect it from some people more than others. And, for some of us, the challenge we face in the receiving is that we don’t always like to reciprocate.
Grace is defined by Merriam-Webster as 1 a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification. b : a virtue coming from God. c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance.
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines grace as The word “grace” in biblical parlance can, like forgiveness, repentance, regeneration, and salvation, mean something as broad as describing the whole of God’s activity toward man or as narrow as describing one segment of that activity. An accurate, common definition describes grace as the unmerited favor of God toward man.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like some people just don’t deserve grace. Some decisions, actions, or assaults, decry the right to such an extension of love.
And, I know for a fact, I am unworthy of the grace that has been offered to me.
For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation].
The truth is, we are each called to follow Jesus, to grow more each day in reflection of him. By no means are any of us worthy of redemption, and yet how much more are we created to extend what God has given us, to others. What are we communicating about the deep love of our God when we are unwilling to love His people right where they are at??
This morning I was in prayer, and for the first time ever, I believe, prayed for a release from the oppression of the unforgiveness. It is a heavy burden to carry the weight (the curse), of the judgment of another. Nearly as heavy as the burden of choosing to hold on to offense.
Set yourself free today. Release another from their shortcomings. As Christ-followers, we will never know the true freedom of HIS grace until we walk in the fullness of our own.