Grace: a gift offered to us that we do not deserve. When we have wronged someone else and they show us mercy, kindness, forgiveness, etc…they are showing us grace. When we are wronged by someone else and we choose to show them mercy, kindness, forgiveness, etc…we are showing them grace. When God shows us love, mercy, forgiveness, salvation, and patience…he is showing us grace.
Ultimately, grace is a God thing. As humans, grace is generally not our go-to response. Our go-to response when someone hurts us or wrongs us is to somehow hurt them back…to get even. But showing grace, that is something beyond our human nature. It’s a God thing. That is why grace is not always easy for us to completely grasp.
If I had to pinpoint one aspect of grace that I think makes it difficult for us to completely grasp, I would have to say it’s the patience required to truly show grace. Patience is at the very heart of grace, and is foundational for grace to exist. Loving someone who hurt us can be hard; showing mercy or offering forgiveness can be difficult. But before we can do any of those aspects of grace, we must first remain patient in the midst of the action that is hurting us so we can clearly think about remember to be gracious. Then, because we remained patient, we can keep a level head and go about reacting in a gracious way toward the other person.
Without patience, we react on our first impulse…and as humans our first impulse is to retaliate and get even with the person who hurt us. Our first impulse is not to be gracious through love, forgiveness, kindness, forgiveness, and so on.
With patience, we stay calm and think clearly. We remember that God has extended grace to us even though we don’t deserve it, and we remember that God calls us to be gracious to others in the same way he was gracious with us. So when we remain patient, we can take what God has given to us and extend it to others.
It’s a God thing. Patience leading to grace in whatever circumstance we are involved in is a total God thing.
“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9
God is not slow, he is patient. He does not desire that any should receive the full consequences for their sins, but rather he desires that all would turn from their sin and run to him. He is patient in order to show us grace.
Patience leads to grace. Patience leads to acting and reacting in a Godly manner as opposed to acting and reacting according to our flesh. Patience is a God thing, because he is patient with us beyond what we deserve (understatement of the year). Patience is something God wants us to practice in our life as well, so we can show grace to others just like he shows grace to us.
God call us to be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). We are told to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1). God acts in patience toward us, and wants us to act in patience toward others.
Now, if you’ve been following my Journey to Understand Grace blog series, you might be thinking to yourself, “you’ve already talked about the patience of grace“. Yes I have, but this blog is not just about patience. I am talking a lot about patience, because it is key both to the idea of grace overall as well as specifically to the passage shared above. However, there’s another thing that is also key that goes right along with patience…
Choice. Our own choice to be exact.
We have a choice whether or not we will work to be patient or not. We have a choice as to whether we will react on impulse or in a godly manner. It takes work to train our self to not react on impulse, but it is still a choice. If we don’t want to learn patience, we won’t do what it takes to train our self. If we do, we will do what it takes.
We also have a choice how we respond to the patience being shown to us. The passage above talks about God being patient and showing us grace, but it’s up to each of us on our own to decide if we will accept the grace offered to us or not.
Patience will lead to grace. Acting with patience is a choice we must make for our self. Responding to the grace offered to us is also a choice we must make for our self.
Will we choose to seek to be patient, putting our self in a position to be able to show grace to someone who hurts us when the time comes? Will we choose to accept and respond to the grace being shown to us when we don’t deserve it?
That is our choice…and we each must make our own choice.
May we choose to learn to remain patient, putting our self in a position to be gracious in any circumstance. May we also continually choose to accept the grace that is being offered to us. May we realize that the grace we are being offered and choosing to accept should lead us to act the same way toward others.