Recently I watched a newscast about family who attended the trial of a person accused of killing their son. The family was permitted to speak to the man. And speak they did. Through their anger and hurt and pain, they called the man all kinds of names. They wished nothing but bad upon him; they said he didn’t deserve to live.
As I watched, I asked myself. Could there ever be a time when I would withhold grace from a person I didn’t think deserved it? So I’m asking you. Would you ever withhold grace from someone you didn’t think deserved it?
As I thought about myself, I must admit the question challenged me and my feelings. I was confused a little because I thought about forgiveness and mercy and grace. I thought they were all about the same. But then I realized I wasn’t asking myself about forgiveness or about mercy. I was asking about grace.
Forgiveness is what we do when there is a situation or circumstance in which we feel wronged. Forgiveness is an act. It cancels a debt owed to us.
Mercy is also an act. It is an act of compassion in response to a situation. Both forgiveness and mercy then are acts we choose to do because of a situation we have with others. To forgive says to someone, that things are ok. You can even forgive yourself. We can move on from this. Mercy says to someone that I don’t have to have all that I am due from you. We can move forward with this.
But Grace is different. Grace is more a life than an act. Grace is the reason many of us can forgive and can be merciful towards others. We cannot earn grace, but we can position ourselves so that grace will recognize us and choose to bring its favor on us.
1 Peter 5:5 says, “Likewise, you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
So, would I ever withhold grace from someone I thought didn’t deserve it? My answer is this. I would never withhold grace from anyone for any reason. There is never a person who is so bad that they do not deserve the grace of God or our grace. There is never a person who is so unfit for life that grace would be wasted on their life.
If we find it difficult to give grace others, it may be because we do not find grace alive in us. Grace is of no use and no value unless it is used to lift up people who are down. Grace is of no use if we believe people must do something to earn it.
Grace is God’s good in action for our good. It is never earned. Grace is grace just as Love is love. Grace helps us stand apart when others will stand out. Grace helps us be humble when we have much.
Grace helps us be thankful when we have little. Grace helps us see a future when we have nothing. Grace strengthens us when we are weak, and it weakens so we are never too strong. Grace helps us see how special we are without acting as if we are special.
The bible says that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah tried to live righteously in an unrighteous world. Grace helps you live with your challenges. Live through your challenges, and it helps you live with the good found in our greatest challenges.
We may be asked to forgive someone a debt they owe—let’s do that quickly. We may be asked to show mercy to someone who needs a break—let’s do that quickly. We are never asked to show grace. We are expected to let grace live in our lives so that when He looks around, the Lord will find grace living through us.
But grace helps you live strong when you need forgiveness and you don’t get it. Grace helps you live strong when you need mercy but you don’t get it. Grace helps you thrive in life no matter what life throws your way.
Live a Delivered Life. Love you.