Building Up Your Home ~ Part 4 ~ Extending Grace
Grace is perhaps one of the most misunderstood words. Some people define grace as forgiveness. Some define it as mercy, but grace is so much more than that. Grace actually means a free gift. A favor rendered by one who need not do so. It is an unearned favor or gift. In other words we did nothing to earn it or deserve it; it is simply and freely given.
Grace is something we all need extended to us at times, for not one of us is perfect. We all experience times of failure. We all know exactly where our imperfections lie, yet society has us so focused on perfection! Plastic surgery is becoming the norm as are nail and tanning salons, etc. Just look at the media; the only time it’s okay not to be super thin is when you’re on The Biggest Loser and that’s only because the producers want us to watch them strive for perfection!
Just think about a child, when they come down the stairs all dressed up, hair all combed, looking just perfect, what do we say? “Aw, don’t you look…” But when that same child manages to get spaghetti all over their face, clothes and hands later on in the day, they need grace bestowed. They need to know it’s okay to mess up.
Growing up, I had a brother who never had to try in school to make straight A’s, while I had to work hard just to pull C’s & B’s. I loved taking ballet and loved to dance, but my best friend was always better at it than I was, and she didn’t even seem to like it that much! I’m sure you have had friends like mine, prettier, smarter, friendlier, wittier and so on. I started thinking of myself as “your basic vanilla ice cream” in the broad spectrum of flavors. I was never great at anything, but average in lots of things. I think that pretty much describes the classic person in need of grace.
Then one day I read something that literally changed my whole life and especially my perspective!! It was the words found in Ephesians 2:8-9:
For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;Not because of works, lest any man should boast. (Amplified)
Wow! I highlighted and underlined these verses so much that I wore a hole in my Bible! Even today, I cannot adequately express the freedom that came over me at that moment. Me, the one who never felt like she measured up, was given grace without having to measure up to anyone’s standards.
We all need that same grace applied to our lives. Just imagine for a moment if this world would lavish that same grace God freely gives upon one another! Everyone would be loved, accepted and encouraged to try.
Now don’t get me wrong, God still disciplines those He loves. We aren’t free to do as we please as Paul explained in Romans 6:1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not!
No, we’re not free to do as we please, but just imagine if we could extend the grace that will give our loved ones the freedom to try. Just imagine what they may be able to achieve!
The wise women extend grace to all. The foolish are harsh, critical, even belittling and condemning.
The trouble is we have to experience that grace ourselves before we can extend it to another and then once we experience it ourselves, we must constantly be reminded of that grace bestowed upon us. It works almost like a math equation; the greater our view of grace the easier it is to give it to another.
Perhaps next time I’ll share a bit more of God’s “free” grace He offers to everyone!
‘Til then, sue