May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NLT)
It’s what we say before a meal; it’s what’s often said at the end of a service, particularly in a Methodist church.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Corinthians 13:14 (NLT)
According to dictionary.com:
- elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action: We watched her skate with effortless grace across the ice.
- a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment: He lacked the manly graces.
- favour or goodwill.
- a manifestation of favour, especially by a superior: It was only through the dean’s grace that I wasn’t expelled from school.
- mercy; clemency; pardon: He was saved by an act of grace from the governor.
- favour shown in granting a delay or temporary immunity.
- an allowance of time after a debt or bill has become payable granted to the debtor before suit can be brought against him or her or a penalty applied: The life insurance premium is due today, but we have 31 days’ grace before the policy lapses. Compare grace period.
- the freely given, unmerited favour and love of God.
- the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.
- a virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces.
- Also called state of grace.the condition of being in God’s favour or one of the elect.
- moral strength: the grace to perform a duty.
- a short prayer before or after a meal, in which a blessing is asked and thanks are given: Grandfather will now say grace.
It’s the reason I’m here – and the reason we are all here. Despite all my past mistakes and misdemeanours, some of which in my former life were huge; here, by the grace of God I am.
Grace gives us room to wriggle; grace gives us space to grow; grace gives us a place to make mistakes.
God’s grace is abundant. So, why do we often find it in short supply in ourselves and sometimes in others? Why do we knock people when they make mistakes? Why do we find ourselves condemned so much when we make mistakes?
Mistakes are what we’re made for. Was it not grace who gave Adam and Eve a second chance? Was it not grace who gave Moses the Ten Commandments for the second time after he had broken the tablets the first time when he lost his temper? Was it not grace who delivered the Israelites first out of Egypt and then out of the desert? Was it not grace who delivered Jonah out of the belly of a whale?
Was it not grace who gave His only Son, sent to earth as a sacrifice to pay for all those things we did wrong – and will still do wrong?
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
Ephesians 2:8 (NLT)
Are we not called to have the same grace? When people do things wrong, do we have the same grace? When people get us wrong, do we have the same grace?
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” We all sing it; do we believe it? Do we believe it for others?
They say that grace and mercy go together. Grace: unmerited favour, being treated well when we deserve the worse. Mercy: compassion, favour, or blessing, when we don’t deserve it.
Mercy stops us from drowning when we fall into the river of disobedience. Grace pulls us out, dries us down, wraps a towel around us, gives us a cup of tea and something to eat, makes sure our feet are on firm ground, that we are OK, steady on our feet, and only lets us go when we’re ready. And what do we often do? Head back towards the river! God’s infinite grace pulls us out again and again and again. We tend to think, “If they keep falling in, let them drown!” Or, “If they can’t keep away from the river of disobedience, it’s their own fault, whatever happens to them, wherever the river takes them.” But that’s not God’s way. His grace is infinite.
May I suggest that grace and love go closely together? Patient, kind, not jealous, or boastful, or rude, not demanding its own way, not irritable, and keeps no record of wrong. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out. It never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. (See 1 Corinthians 13.)
How do we react when people get things wrong? Are we patient, are we kind; or are we irritable? Do we give up on people when they get them wrong? Or do we remain hopeful, and endure every wrong they do? And when people get things wrong, do we choose to forget, to keep no record of wrong, or do we keep that in the back of our minds and let it fester?
Because fester it will, ferment it will, and then bubble up when we least expect it: the stench of unforgiveness. The opposite of grace?
- Harshness, hatred
- Meanness, malevolence
- Disgrace, dishonour
- Condemnation, cruelty
Our first commandment, the most important, is to love God and love others. If we don’t love others, we don’t love God.
If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.
1 John 4:20-21 (NLT)
Grace. If we don’t forgive others, we risk carrying the stench of unforgiveness. We reap what we sow.
Grace. Let’s be gracious: this day, this week, this month, this year, this decade, this lifetime from this moment onwards; let’s be gracious to one another, forgiving one another, deleting, and discarding all record of wrong. May we, by the grace of God, grow in grace in the name of His precious Son, Jesus, and for His glory. Amen.
If you’re struggling to find grace right now, we would like to pray for you – please get in touch. May God Bless You, and we hope to see you soon.
Have you had your copy of ‘DARE to Hope!’ yet? You can download it here.