What is grace? One person describes it as “getting the opposite of what we deserve.” Some years ago I was the receiver of rich, healing grace from my teammates.
The local brothers had postponed a leaders’ meeting from Saturday evening to Sunday. However, I forgot to tell my two teammates, both of whom went to great effort to get there (getting a baby sitter, traveling 45 minutes by bus, being away from their families on Saturday evening).
I met them separately as I was leaving the store and when I apologized for my failure in communication, each said the same thing, “That’s ok, we all forget at times.” And they meant it.
Grace flowed; goodness welled up, joy rained down. They didn’t say the words, “I forgive you” but they certainly acted it out. If they had been measuring me by performance rather than grace, they certainly would have had the right to rake me over the coals. Instead, they were living demonstrations of being “grace receivers” and “grace givers,” forgiving others as God has forgiven them.
C.S. Lewis declared that every believer should be a grace receiver and giver, describing it this way: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
Counselor David Seamands summed up his career with this insight, “Many years ago I was driven to the conclusion that the two major causes of most emotional problems among evangelical Christians are these: the failure to understand [and] receive…God’s unconditional grace and forgiveness; and the failure to give out that unconditional love, forgiveness and grace to other people…”
How are you doing at forgiving and extending grace in the conflicts in your life? Take a look at Psalm 37:1-10 with its admonitions to “fret not” “trust in the Lord and do good,” “delight in the Lord” and “wait on Him.” It will help!
Prayer: “Lord, help me to be a grace receiver and a grace giver, forgiving others as you have forgiven me. Help me to remember how much I am forgiven, and, how, in actuality and comparison, how small are others’ offenses against me. Help me to live the truth that your death and resurrection bought forgiveness for every sin committed against me. Who am I to not forgive?! Praise you for the grace you give. Amen.”
A ”Graceful Picture”