I find it very interesting how God “speaks” to me. I have never heard an audible voice from God. I have never seen messages written in fire in the sky, nor had a burning bush give me a command of God. But God speaks to me over and over again in some very subtle ways. See if you can relate to this: a topic comes to your mind. Over a period of a few days or even weeks’ different people give different insight into that same topic. Every book, magazine or sermon you hear in some way reflects on that topic. That has been happening to me lately.
It has been happening regarding several areas, but one I want to address in particular: grace. I have always thought of myself as a person who gives grace. I try to forgive. I talk about forgiveness. I try to hear others. But the reality is that maybe what I have thought was grace was just lip service. Maybe what I envisioned was a grace that still allowed me to be right. Maybe what I pictured was not grace at all.
This morning I was listening to a message by an incredible speaker as I drove to the church. He pointed out that Jesus is about grace that forgives, not laws that pass judgment. I buy that. I teach that. I finished a book I was reading yesterday where the author was talking about grace as a tool of reconciliation instead of a measuring rod of correctness. Okay, I get that. But something keeps nagging me. Something just doesn’t feel right.
I have seen my grace shortcomings up close lately. I hold on to the anger people throw my way. I sense bitterness creep in and steal my joy. I resent times when I have been challenged. It may be that I don’t have this grace thing down after all.
Grace should bring freedom and not bondage. Grace releases and doesn’t smother. Grace restores and doesn’t break. Graced is meant to be extended and not stored. Grace is a never ending loop; the more you give the more you receive.
Today, I choose to extend grace. Today I will do my best not to have to be right. Today, I will release and not hold captive. Only by God’s grace.