by Andrea Renee Cox
“For you are saved by grace through faith, and
this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift”
Ephesians 2:8 (HCSB)
Grace has been on my mind lately. The need to receive it. The call to give it out.
According to dictionary.com, grace is “mercy, clemency, pardon.” It could also be said that grace is giving someone the benefit of the doubt. The most important definition of grace I’ve learned through personal experience is that it is receiving kindness and compassion when you don’t deserve it at all (or giving kindness and compassion to someone who doesn’t deserve it at all).
I’ve been on both sides of that fence before. Undeserving. In a position to hold a grudge against someone else who was undeserving. Neither position is a pleasant one. One the one hand, I’ve done something wrong; on the other, someone else has done something wrong toward me. In either situation, I’ve often come away feeling ashamed and dirty and plumb worn out.
But what if I chose something different?
What if, when I do something wrong, I seek forgiveness right away? What if, when someone wrongs me, I extend a dose of grace and forgive them instead of holding on to that grudge?
What would that do to our world if we all chose to extend grace to each other? If we gave each other the benefit of the doubt. If we chose kindness, even when no one deserves it.
One way I’ve recently begun approaching grace is this: When I find myself in a particular situation that calls for me to make a choice between grudge or grace, I pause for a moment and pray, asking Jesus to guide me into His grace and to help me extend that grace to the other person. Without His help, my weakness will prevail, and I won’t be able to reflect His grace. But if I lean on Him to provide the grace I need to share, His strength will overcome my weakness, and He will receive the glory for the work He has done in and through me.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
from 2 Corinthians 12:9 (HCSB)
Last Friday, as I was running errands, the song “Grace Wins” by Matthew West played on the radio—twice. This served as a reminder and confirmation that I was on the right track with my new, more purposeful, approach to grace. The line of the song that spoke very clearly to me was “I’m living proof grace wins every time.”
Do I live in a way that proves that grace wins every time?
I’m certainly trying to. More than that, though, I’m trusting God to guide me into a way of living that proves that His grace wins every time.
Please enjoy this video of Matthew West’s “Grace Wins.”
Friends, how do YOU approach grace? Is it more difficult for you to give or receive grace?
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