Thursday, April 9, 2015
Here’s what I’m learning about grace:
Grace keeps its mouth shut when something is none of our business.
Grace doesn’t tell other people’s news.
Grace defends (by saying something positive) the one being disparaged behind their back, bringing a quick end to the gossip.
Grace forgives--in the heart--being left out or not receiving cards or gifts.
Grace means that, whenever a group of folks get together, there will be much conversation, and sometimes we will forget that certain topics may touch a sensitive nerve in some people. So grace tries to remember and stay away from the potential to unintentionally hurt someone, while realizing that, other than becoming a monk, sometimes we will unintentionally make a comment that is hurtful. Grace goes to the person as soon as possible and clears it up.
Grace talks to the newcomer, stands down the gossip, encourages the downtrodden, rejoices with the successful.
Grace asks questions, is quick to listen and slow to speak.
Grace overlooks the “teacher-expert” who must steal the show with their “knowledge” even though they are not, in fact, the most knowledgeable person in the room.
Grace doesn’t engage those who always insist on being right.
Grace long-suffers with the long-suffering.
Grace accepts that not everyone operates out of grace, because not everyone knows the source of grace, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace accepts the grace of the Holy Spirit living in us, who do know Christ, and depends on Christ to keep us in grace, even under the most trying of circumstances.
This grace we possess doesn’t mean we don’t experience anger, or discernment between right and wrong. It doesn’t mean we are doormats, or never speak up. It means we do so in grace.
So be angry, but don’t sin (Ephesians 4:26).
Have discernment, but be “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
Be confident in Christ, not a doormat to human sin emanating from others (2 Corinthians 3:4-6; Ephesians 4:14-15, Hebrews 4:16).
Speak up, but speak words of truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
The Bible says we are to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16).
Salt flavors and also burns. Light shows the way to Christ. Sometimes grace will sting others (hence the notion of pouring hot coals on someone’s head, Proverbs 25:22). Our motivation is not to sting. However, in our right motivation and clear conscience before God, His grace working through us may indeed sting others. And that’s okay. Grace that is salty brings conviction. And conviction brings regeneration to new life (or just tees people off. It’s not our call, it’s God’s).
The same goes for flavor. The grace of God operating within us may flavor a person or situation parched and starving for grace.
Grace is hard, as I’ve written in a previous post. But grace is essential (and I’ve learned that not showing grace creates all sorts of problems. Showing grace, then, is actually easier in the long run!)
Grace doesn’t come from us. It comes from Christ who promises that His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9). That means His grace is sufficient in our anger, irritation, desire-to-be-understood, animosity, hurt, resentment and anxiety. It is sufficient to overwhelm. To overwhelm means to “bury or drown...defeat completely...inundate” (online dictionary).
His grace can overwhelm every enemy, know-it-all, golden child, thorn in our side, social gathering, insecurity and every boast of man. It can overwhelm any person and situation. His grace can do this by first overwhelming us and our fleshly reactions, responses and broodings.
In short, the grace of Jesus Christ begins where we, ourselves, end.
“Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:16-17
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14
“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1
“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” James 4:6