I’ve recently been both impressed and depressed concerning the power of grace.
Grace is an essential quality of life, the presence of which makes Christian faith supreme. Anyone who has interacted with others to any degree knows that the absence of grace can keep people in chains. This enslavement, brought about by withholding grace, is not something limited to non-Christian religions. It’s found in individuals and used in their personal lives. A woman once came to me concerning her daughter, distraught with the way the daughter held things over her head. “I just cannot measure up to her standards. I find that no matter how hard I try, she finds something at fault with me.” In the course of our conversation I learned that the daughter had been behaving in a grace-less manner toward her mother. The mother had allowed that interaction to cripple her, spiritually. Ironically, the daughter was a professing Christian — a person who claimed to have experienced grace herself. Yet she failed to show that grace to her own unbelieving mother. Does not the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21-35) come to mind? These thoughts depress my heart and cause my spirit to ache.
In contrast, I’ve seen people act with such grace toward others that I am ashamed. I’ve seen numerous spouses forgive adultery. I’ve heard of people who have forgiven their would-be murderers. I’ve spoken to people who have forgiven those who have harmed their family members. Where do you find that ability to forgive? It comes from having been forgiven yourself. It comes from having felt the Spirit of God breathe his life into you when you’ve discovered the ugliness of your sin in the face of Jesus’ death. God knows that grace is powerful. He created it. He embodies it. And as you look at his majestic pattern, you are forced to conclude that those who are truly powerful display their character, not by withholding grace, but by lavishing it. This thought causes my heart to soar and releases me to show grace — even to the graceless people I know.
May the grace of God be with you.