Continued from here.
In my last blog entry, I shared a story about how I extended grace to a woman who works for a Christian organization who made a mistake. The reason I extended grace was not because she deserved it – she didn’t. And I didn’t do it because her mistake wasn’t costly – it caused inconvenience for the people in my organization. I extended her grace because of the grace that God has extended to me.
In contrast, I had a situation where a Christian woman did not extend grace to me when, due to a miscommunication, she believed she had been wronged. Even though I don’t think I did anything wrong in this particular situation, I nevertheless apologized to her, but even my apology did not placate her. I spent the next few weeks praying blessings over her to help me avoid sowing seeds of bitterness over this unpleasant experience. As I chose to forgive this woman for the way she treated me as well as others, God enlightened me to a truth I otherwise would have missed: This woman likely did not extend me grace because she, herself, has received little grace.
Of course, as a Christian, she has, in fact, been extended an enormous amount of grace through Jesus’ sacrifice for her, as is true for all of us. However, Jesus extending us grace is only half of the equation: we must also receive the grace that he extends to us. Until we do, we will continue to live as if grace has been withheld, even though that really isn’t the case. How heartbreaking it must be for God to have extended grace at such a high cost but have children who never receive that grace!
Giving a gift does not guarantee that the gift will be received. God offers the free gift of grace to all, but we must choose to believe Him and receive the gift before it will do us any good. How heartbreaking that so many people never do receive His gift of grace, even many who represent themselves as being Christians! And until we receive God’s generous gift of grace ourselves, we are unable to pay it forward.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace holding a large stack of presents. Courtesy Bitmoji.]