A failure to grasp the grace that have been demonstrated to me will cause the failure of demonstrating grace to other people.
I grew up religious. But we all know that being religious doesn’t necessarily mean being righteous. I had a semblance of virtue but only I knew the wickedness brewing inside of me.
It didn’t take long to show on the outside what stemmed from the inside – pride, greed, immorality, selfishness, self-righteousness. And when it did, I would mess up big time.
Gratefully, at 17, God rescued me from my sinfulness. But that rescue mission didn’t stop that moment when I accepted Christ. He had to rescue me daily from slipping back to my old self. I am forever grateful for the gospel that frees me from sin, the Holy Spirit that sanctifies me to become more like Christ and the hope of the resurrection that is to come where sin will no longer be present.
I used to have great difficulty dispensing forgiveness. I said “great difficulty” because to this day, offense is never an easy thing to deal with. But it has become quicker to forgive when I remember that I myself have been forgiven.
I love how Colossians 3:13 (NLT) puts it.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
Make allowance for each other’s faults.
In other words, Paul was telling the church, “Expect it. You’ll have to practice forgiveness for offense will happen. The people you have relationship with, they have faults. They are not perfect. Because of that, not only will you have to make allowances for their faults but choose to forgive when the opportunity arises.”
How in the world can we do it?
As the Lord has forgiven, we are to forgive others.
This we need to remember, we are first a sinner
and only secondarily sinned against.
Read it again.
We are first a sinner and only secondarily sinned against.
When we have no idea how much we have been forgiven, it will be hard for us to release forgiveness. If we don’t comprehend how much grace has been dispensed toward us, then we will have a hard time dispensing the same grace to others.
And this will extend to our marriage, friendships, work relationships, family relationships, classmates and church friends.
The more aware we are of our own need for grace, we become more willing to extend it to others.
“But this person doesn’t deserve my grace! You have no idea how much he/she offended me.”
Well, that’s why it’s called grace.
Grace is kindness undeserved.
The bottom line is that the person we choose to forgive may not change when we first extend grace.
Once we embrace this truth, it will not just benefit those we forgive. It will greatly free us from baggages we’ve been carrying for days, weeks, months, maybe even years.
Grace changes everything!