Try Grace Next Time

Try Grace Next Time

Gift

You have a choice to make today. Soon, your life will cross paths with someone who desperately needs you to give them something. It may not make sense at that moment, and it may not even be easy for you to do this for them. You see, it could be the person who has hurt or wronged you repeatedly. Extending this gift to them may go against every natural instinct you have. That will not change the fact that they need this from you. At that moment, an opportunity will be placed before you, and I hope you take it. Because what that someone will need from you is the gift of grace.

Grace is a gift we all want to receive but struggle to give. Many Christians live their lives complaining about how hard others are on them and how no one ever gives them grace. But that same Christian lives their lives refusing to give grace to those who need it. Do you see the problem? Paul says in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” It should be no surprise that in this life, you will reap what you sow. By and large, when a Christian sows grace into their relationships with others, they will reap grace in return.

There are relationships and situations, though, where it seems you give grace over and over and over… never receiving that return on investment. That is when the temptation to return evil for evil and an eye for an eye will arise. If we think grace is something we deserve or are owed, we do not understand the true nature of grace. The very definition of grace is “Unmerited favor.” Implicit in that definition is the idea of receiving something you do not deserve or have not earned.

Paul makes this clear when it comes to our relationship with God in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” There is no clearer image of what grace actually is than this one. Grace is truly a gift that cannot be earned through works nor derived from someone’s goodness or merit. It has been and always will be a gift extended to someone who does NOT deserve it. Hence the definition “Unmerited favor.” This begs the greater question: if God can give someone awful like me the gift of grace, who am I to refuse to offer it to the people around me?

Have you ever met a Christian who was so hard, so critical, and so judgmental to others that it took away from all the good they did? It does not matter how much good you do for the Kingdom of God if you don’t love the people in the Kingdom of God enough to give them grace. You have absolutely no idea what that person is going through. The next time someone says something offensive or downright does something awful to you, I want you to do me a favor. Instead of thinking about yourself and how this affects you, zoom out and think about what that person must be going through to have treated you that way. Try grace next time.

That person who has hurt you may be going through financial problems so severe they can’t sleep at night. Maybe they were on the brink of exhaustion when they hurt you. That person who said something mean to you may be facing a private health or mental issue you know nothing about. Maybe they are carrying more of a burden than you could possibly imagine. That person who wronged you may be enduring marital problems so severe that they are scared they are about to lose it all. Maybe they are in fight mode 24/7 because that’s all they know.

That person lying about you or spreading rumors may be so insecure about their flaws that their only defense is to make up stuff about you in hopes that no one will look at them. Maybe they know all too well how false and pathetic these rumors are, and they inwardly hate themselves for being responsible for them. That person who can’t control their child in worship may be a single parent. Maybe it’s all they can do to get them there, and they have so much more on their mind. That person who doesn’t dress as you would and doesn’t know all the ins and outs of Christian living may be a new Christian. Maybe they are overwhelmed with this drastically different life they desperately want to transform into.

That person is a soul. Whoever they are and whatever they have done—they are a soul. They need you to give them the grace God was willing to give you. They may be struggling with their faith, and how you treat them at that moment will dictate whether they keep trying or throw in the towel altogether. Paul says in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And then he says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We were sinners bound for nothing more than spiritual death and destruction, BUT God demonstrated His love for us and gave us the gift of Jesus instead. By the way, God gave them that same grace too. If God can give them grace, who are you not to?

 You have a choice to make today. You have to make it today because when the moment comes for you to give someone grace they do not deserve, you will have already made up your mind to give it to them. If you are still struggling and wrestling with this as you read this now, let me say it this way. What if God gave you grace in the same measure you give grace to the ones around you? Thank God, we serve a Father who gives out more grace than I could ever hope to give. I know I sure have needed grace from Him; what about you?

Ben Hogan, Minister of Evangelism

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