Serving those who are responding to God’s call to love.

Grace Received, Grace Given

 
 
Grace. What a beautiful word. It’s even more beautiful as a verb. I can’t tell you how full my heart is when I see this played out in real ways. The opposite is true when it’s withheld. So painful to watch. In my life, I have had innumerable opportunities to see this powerful word put in to powerful action.
My question is, why do we withhold it? What power or satisfaction is gained by withholding grace? R.C. Sproul talks about our moral calculus, where we ask, “Is this an offense I should let go of or is it too grievous and worth confronting my brother in love over it?” Now before you assume I am talking about big moral issues, consider tardiness. When someone is habitually late, should they be offered grace over and over? What about cigarette smokers, or people that cuss or obnoxious middle or high school students? Do we offer them grace over and over again? What if someone just rubs you the wrong way? Do we then have the right to refuse grace? Eeep….now it’s getting sticky.
God blessed me with many opportunities to learn about grace through my youngest son. I am forever grateful for those opportunities. Were they hard? You bet! I learned through it, to be on my knees in constant dependence on God, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But I am not going to talk about anything but grace here. Through a son that needed continual grace, I was privy to those that we knew that continually offered him grace. As a mom, these people became cornerstones of faithful believers to me. They exhibited no selfish need to survey my son’s habitual shortcomings and point them out, contrary, they pointed to his strengths and offered grace to fill in the void. To set aside oneself for another is such a deep love and even though there was much pain on the other end of it (the end where grace wasn’t offered), the love spoke deeper.
It’s not always easy to love. Nor is it always easy to offer grace. Easy in theory, not easy in practice. While I can only speak from my experience, I can say that it gets easier the more it’s practiced. For me, knowing the difference it made for a drained, overwhelmed mom like myself, makes offering it, much easier.
Think about your day. Was there an opportunity for a smile and grace? Survey the previous week…. anything come to mind? Loving each other is something we really need to master. It should be a priority. When we sing songs like, Hosanna, where the line, “chains be broken, lives be healed, eyes be opened, Christ is revealed….” Is sung, think about how much bondage we are in when we can’t give our love to another. Friends, that is the worst kind of bondage. Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are by disciples, if you love one another.” Again, in Mark 12, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Just as a reminder, because grace and love are inseparable, I am including what Jesus has to say about love.
Love is: patient, kind, it doesn’t envy or boast, it’s not proud, it doesn’t dishonor others, it’s not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth. It ALWAYS protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love never fails.
Can we be perfect and offer perfect grace. Nope, that is reserved for Christ himself, but we are to try. So my prayer is that you will find encouragement in this. It is not meant to convict, point or condemn, but rather to spur inspiration to press on and do the hard work that has been set before you. We are reminded in Hebrews 10 to consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds….or in other words, let’s help each other love and offer grace.  I thank all the people that offered it to my son, in the end, it changed his life. 

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Loves Calling International, Inc.
11953 Ellison Wilson Road
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
Phone: (970) 270-0314
EIN: 47-4298542