We all need it.
We all want it.
We wouldn’t be here without it.
What is it? Grace.
We all have our own thoughts on what grace actually is, but I came across a definition recently that I’d never heard or considered, and I thought it might be helpful to us as we talk about this foundational principle of the gospel today.
Showing grace is the act of being offensively compassionate and courteous.
Wow. Basically, the idea is that we are so forgiving, so compassionate, so out-of-the-way courteous to others that they might even feel offended by it.
When I consider what Jesus did for me, it sometimes offends me. It sometimes makes me angry. Not at Him, but at myself. It makes me hate my selfish nature. It makes me feel so unworthy. His grace is the ultimate revealer of my pride. His grace brings me to my knees. Yet I’m taught that His grace is sufficient for me, and when I am at my weakest point, when I am broken, when I come to terms with my spiritual bankruptcy, I put myself in a position to see Him move mightily (2 Corinthians 12:9, paraphrase).
Taking this into consideration, what are some ways we can show grace in a practical way? Here are some thoughts:
- The next time you get poor service at a restaurant, tip the server greatly.
- Keep a lasso on your tongue. In other words, watch your mouth.
- Say “thank you” more often.
- Grab hold of your temper, especially with your spouse and children.
- Show an interest in what someone is saying to you.
- Apologize to someone when you don’t feel they deserve an apology.
- Forgive someone when they don’t deserve forgiveness.
Do these things seem difficult for you? They should. Because that’s grace. It’s offensive; sometimes to us, sometimes to others. It’s inconvenient. It causes us to be taken aback and to feel the weight of our sinful nature. Grace is convicting.
As hard as grace is for us to put into practice, recognize this: the cross was harder. The cross was offensive. The cross was inconvenient. But in the face of offense and inconvenience, the cross went from grotesque to the gospel. And as we show this offensive grace to others, we become salt and light.
I’m starting to realize what He meant when He said that His grace is sufficient. It’s all we need. Accept the grace of God and pass it on to others. Grace is a system of forgiven people forgiving people. Give people the grace you desire for yourself.
Today is a good day to offend someone with grace. Are you up to it?