Grace Cannot Be Earned

paydayContinued from here.

In my last blog entry, I shared the story of my failure to read a 250-page book at age 8 in the allotted time. I was not met with grace in that situation, but I shared what the outcome might have been if that’s how my story had ended. I wouldn’t have deserved a positive outcome. After all, I didn’t complete the assignment within the time I had been allotted. If I had, then no grace would have been needed. I knew I had failed, and there was nothing I could do about it as the clock kept moving toward the deadline I could no longer meet. And yet what a huge difference it would have made in my life had I received grace instead of punishment … not because I deserved it but because it’s what I needed.

I still need grace – lots and lots of grace – but we live in a world that frequently fails to extend grace. Sadly, I even see this in Christian circles: someone makes a mistake and apologizes, but the other Christian fails to extend grace. I recently had the experience of a Christian making a mistake, and I reacted by extending grace. Her over-the-top level of gratitude communicated volumes: she was not used to receiving grace when making a mistake in her line of work, even though she works for a Christian organization and knew that I was representing one as well. How sad for grace being extended from one Christian to another to be viewed as an anomaly!

To be clear, this woman did not deserve grace. Her mistake caused an inconvenience to the people in my Christian organization, and we had to make adjustments to compensate for her mistake. I didn’t extend her grace because she deserved it. I did it because God has extended grace to me. This woman did not intend to make the mistake and was clearly upset with herself for doing so. She took responsibility and apologized for her mistake. However, none of this “earned” her grace. Grace is always a gift that is extended to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace being showered with money under the words, “Pay Day.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

 

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