Paul never stops talking about it. As I studied Romans over this past year I realized that I get it here (my head), but I’m not sure I always grasp it here (my heart) where it matters most. I’ve been asking the Lord for help, and a couple of recent experiences appear to be part of his response.
Not What You Deserve
My young adult children all have part-time jobs. Recently one of them made a mistake significant enough to cost them their job. I prepared my child for the likely outcome. “We all make mistakes,” I said. “All you can do at this point is accept the consequences and move forward in a positive direction.”
When “the boss” finally responded I reluctantly agreed to listen to the message, certain it would be a justified, if painful moment of reckoning.
Instead this remarkable woman’s first comments were focused on relieving my child’s obvious duress, then to offer empathy and finally, confirmation that this was a business that made space for young people to learn and grow as employees as well as people.
Dismissal would have been completely fair and justified. Instead my child received extravagant, undeserved grace. The former would have offered a valuable life’s lesson, but how much richer and life-changing is this example?
If you’re like me perhaps you carry a few snapshots of memories that create a pit in your stomach to recall, times where you intentionally or unintentionally hurt another person and never made it right.
God put one such moment on my heart recently. And after some time I sent a much belated note of apology to this person, whom I had cared for deeply, but hurt even more. I felt relief to finally do the right thing.
What I received in response was so much more than I could have asked for. An acknowledgment that yes, I had caused injury, followed by assurance that time had healed the wound, that life had turned out well, and that not only was I forgiven, but forgiven heartily.
Later in the day as my heart sopped up the abundance, I noticed a new lightness of being. Grace, it seems, releases us from the weight of our sins to be more fully who God created us to be.
Whatever it is that holds us back from extending grace and forgiveness we need look no further than Jesus, our unlimited reservoir of grace, poured out in his blood for you and for me.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 8: 23-24
- To whom can you offer grace in place of what they deserve?
- Where do you need to seek forgiveness from someone past or present?
I invite you to pray over these questions this week, and then to step heartily in the direction God leads you.
As we give and receive grace it produces a joy that makes us want to do it again and again.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.