Grace. Christians talk about it a lot, but what is it? It is NOT simply a prayer. Though a prayer can be said with grace. It is not flawless elegance. It is not even that lady that died 30 years ago in “Christmas Vacation”. So what is grace?
Grace is one of the most beloved concepts in all of Christianity because it truly is what we all want. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve.
It is not getting something worse than we deserve. We wouldn’t use the term “grace” to refer to the times when we got in trouble for something we didn’t do. No, grace is getting something better than we deserve.
Imagine you were driving down the highway – speeding – and got pulled over by a highway patrol officer. What you deserve is a ticket. Grace is like that officer coming to your window and handing you a $100 bill and wishing you a nice day. You deserved punishment but got a gift instead.
We love this because this is the central idea behind the death and resurrection of Jesus. We deserve death because of our sins (Romans 6:23), but instead of death, we not only get forgiveness, but we get righteousness and life in the presence of God forever. We deserve death, but we get life. We deserve prison, but we get freedom. That is grace.
Wouldn’t you want that? Have you received that? It is exactly what Jesus offers.
When you become a Christian – putting off the old self by connecting with Jesus in his death and resurrection through baptism – you receive the grace of God. That grace is never ending. Even when you sin in the future you will still receive grace and forgiveness.
We all want to receive grace, and we praise God for the grace we have received, but do we give it like we’ve received it?
The last time you went to a sit-down restaurant how did the waiter or waitress do? Did you pay him or her what they deserved or did you give them grace?
When someone asked you for assistance on the street corner, did you drive on by or give them grace?
When your husband or wife made you angry did you lash out or love them anyway showing them grace?
We are called to love God and love others. God loves us by giving us grace. Should we give any less to those around us?
“But you don’t understand. They’re so annoying! They keep doing the same stupid thing over and over again. Surely I am justified in my frustration with them. Surely I don’t have to always treat them that way. Shouldn’t I be treated well?”
I have to wonder if God feels the same way about us when we continually sin against him and against others. Yet, he still gives us grace. He still loves us immeasurably. His love never fails. He never gives up on us.
So I challenge you. Love others like God loves you. Don’t keep all the grace for yourself. Give them grace. Be like Jesus. Even when they were crucifying Him He prayed for their forgiveness. May your attitude be the same as His.