Grace is something that we generally recognize or can put a finger on when we see it happen. However, it is also something we can rarely say exactly what it should or will look like in a specific circumstance until after it happens.
Grace is a lot like a miracle…no one knows what the miracle will look like or when it will come, but everyone will know and recognize the miracle once it has happened.
The irony of Grace however, is not that can’t really know what it will look like until after it happens. The irony is that Grace is always presented to those who don’t deserve it or might not even be looking for it. ALWAYS. That in and of itself is the true irony of Grace.
The most simplistic way to define Grace is “receiving a gift we don’t deserve”.
We could try to get into deeper and more theological definitions of the word to better understand it, and that would be fine to do. However, sometimes we need to keep things simplistic as well, otherwise we can get lost in searching for the deeper more theological meaning of something, and miss when it happens. So right now I’m going to stick with the simplistic meaning of the word.
God’s salvation offered to us as sinful people who chose to walk away from him is an act of his grace, because it’s a gift offered to us that we don’t deserve. In his amazing love, God chose to show us his amazing grace by pursuing after us while we were walking away from him. Jesus, God’s son, came to earth and died to take the punishment that we deserved for our sin, taking care of that on our behalf. God thus offers us salvation from the punishment of our sin, which is an act of his grace.
We don’t deserve the ability to be saved from our sin, but we have been given the opportunity to place our faith in Christ for salvation because God offers us a gift that we don’t deserve; he is showing us grace (Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Corinthians 8:9).
The same is true when a person offers someone who has wronged them the ability to be forgiven and for the process of restoration to begin. The person doing the wrong doesn’t necessarily deserve the right to be forgiven and be restored. So that is where you see grace being extended from one person to another.
And therein lies the irony. Grace is offered to those who don’t deserve it. In fact, it can’t go the other way. Grace can only be offered to those who don’t deserve it…because if they deserved it, it wouldn’t by definition be grace.
Think back on your life. How many times did you receive grace from someone you wronged? Did you deserve the grace from that person? If you didn’t, ask yourself why they extended it to you.
What about you…how many times have you been willing to extend grace to someone who has wronged you? If that person doesn’t deserve it, should that keep you from extending it to them?
Grace is never easy, and it is very ironic. I gladly want to offer grace to someone who always treats me well and is nice to me. However, that is not grace. Grace is to be extended to those who don’t deserve it…just like God does for us.
You can’t earn grace, you can only receive it. Others can’t earn your grace, you can only choose to give it to them.
I admit that grace is not an easy thing, and is often hard to fully grasp. As God continues to teach me about his grace, I look forward to learning more and more about the depth of his grace, as well as what it means to extend grace myself in light of the grace he has extended me. I will share my thoughts and what God shows me as I continue down this journey of understanding grace as a series of blogs.
Feel free to leave comments as well…I’d love to have feedback and hear thoughts on your journey to understand grace. (please ensure comments are beneficial to all reading as well as shared in a kind way…none of us have it all figured out, so let’s not act like we do).