There’s been a word, meaning and action that I’ve had on my mind for a while, and lately it’s been turning over in my mind more and more.
There’s a lot to say about forgiveness. Face it. No matter how good we want to be, even those who aren’t believers realize that no human is perfect, and that we’re all going to do things, say things or act in ways that are going to hurt someone else. None of us are good. Yet, I wonder how many people think about the things they’ve done to someone which is just as much as something done to them that they feel they can’t forgive?
As believers we know that just as Jesus forgives us for our sins against God and His creation, we need to forgive those who trespass against us. It’s as simple as that, but I know it’s not always easy as that. Sometimes it’s a long process to come to a place where you can forgive grievous wrongs, whether they’re done intentionally or not. But it’s still something we have to do, even if we have to depend on God to do it for us until our hearts are right enough to do it for ourselves.
But this isn’t about forgiveness necessarily, but it has a lot to do with it.
Jesus came from His place of glory in heaven to the world as a man, and His whole purpose of His earthly life was to draw people to the Lord and to offer Himself as a spotless, sinless sacrifice for us, so that we could be reconciled with God. When we consider all He has done, we see that He planned for this since Creation. That God gave Himself a way to forgive, and has forgiven…
So that’s it right? Forgive and forget… easy enough.
We’re not God. For us, it’s not easy to forget. Even if we’ve forgiven, yeah there is still the reminders every now and then of those things which have hurt, that we want to ‘get over it’.
Maybe I have it all wrong, but what about Grace? Isn’t that where this comes in? Maybe it would help to know the proper definition of what Grace is. I’ve thought about it a long time and still couldn’t come up with something that sufficiently encompasses the meaning.
I’ve used the word sarcastically before plenty of times. Usually when someone has been late, or similar saying, “How nice of you to grace us with your presence…”
I’ve heard it said that grace is refinement in manner, movement and speech. Something I’m definitely not… and I know plenty of people who’ve given the impression of grace, yet are about as genuine as a chunk of glass in a diamond mine.
So what is it, and what about it.
Grace is God’s unmerited favor for sure. Nothing He gives or we receive is anything but because of His grace. His forgiveness for our sins is out of His mercy, but it’s also out of His grace- both are undeserved, both are given freely, yet neither is always accepted.
Grace is active; an action of God towards those who accept and repentantly receive His forgiveness, and it’s also ongoing. Everything that God helps us with, gives and displays toward us is undeserved Grace extended to us because He loves us. In a way grace is also God’s ability to love us as we are- asking us to come as we are so He can work on our imperfections and messes.
His grace on top of His mercy of forgiveness sets us free from the law of sin and death- if we accept it. And when we accept it, God throws that past sin away. The Bible says in Psalm 103:12 that, As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
He no longer sees our sin because He see’s His Son’s sacrificial payment instead.
Since we’re only human, it’s not often possible to forget. Even when we want to, something will come up which just brings us back to those hurts. But just as we ask God to help us forgive, we can also expect that He can and will help us to extend grace. No, it won’t make us forget, but we will have the ability to leave it where it is, and not bring it back out to dwell on. It’s also the ability to accept others as they are, messes and all. Love them, in spite of the imperfections or differences. Give them encouragement in growing in the faith while allowing them to bring their imperfections to the Lord Who is the rightful judge.
Sometimes people have a hard time accepting forgiveness. I know I do sometimes, especially when I have a hard time forgiving myself. It’s the same with grace. Accepting that someone can overlook or leave alone wrongs done, is so opposite of what this world expects. Even the world brings up the eye for an eye justification. The world’s answer is give back what you get, but do it harder. Out shout, out anger, out talk and out give back what’s given to you. And if you sit back and let people wrong you without hitting back, you’re a dupe or a pushover.
I’m so far from perfect, so much of me still in me, I want Jesus to shine out of me. I want to be different because trusting God means even trusting in things that are contrary to our nature and what the world says.
The world says, forget you. God says forgive even 70 times 7.
The world says, stop taking that crap, fight back, or leave. God says, I love you no matter how bratty, selfish or wicked you are. Here is My Only begotten Son to prove it.
So what about Grace? I want to give it because God gave it first.