Grace. We talk about it, but do we really get it? We’re thankful for it, but do we really understand what it means for us and our lives?
Today’s verses are Ephesians 2:4-9.
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
I hate making mistakes.
No, you don’t understand. I hate making mistakes.
I. Hate. It.
Sometimes the mistakes I make turn out to be something that couldn’t be avoided. Other times, mistakes turn out to be issues that I could have stopped if I’d thought about it or worked harder or dug deeper. And that just happened the other day. If I had only dug a little deeper, slowed down and asked one more question, I could have prevented this rather large and expensive mistake from ever occurring.
But I didn’t. I forged ahead, confident in what I was doing. Or so worried about the clock I just chose not to take the time to think about it.
It’s one thing to make a mistake that embarrasses you. It’s another thing to make an embarrassing mistake that costs money. And that’s where I ended up. Not my best day ever.
It was obviously my fault. I made a judgment call and it was wrong, and the people affected had every right to be angry with me. But they weren’t. And believe me I tried pointing out different ways I could have prevented it and then suggested suitable punishments to atone. And they wouldn’t hear of it.
That’s grace. People hurt by my carelessness choosing to pay for it themselves instead of holding it over my head—when they have every right to.
We appreciate grace when people extend it to us. But do we appreciate it enough to extend it to others? That’s the question staring me in my mind right now. If the situation were reversed and someone had cost me time and money, would I respond the same way? Would I extend grace to them?
I hope I would.
And all of this just comes down to one unavoidable truth: God forgives us for so much more than mistakes. God forgives us for sin.
I was miserable for hours after I realized what had happened with this, until I found out that nobody hated me, that nobody was holding it against me. But for those few hours, I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. All I could think about was how I’d screwed up and how they were well within their rights to punish me or dock my pay or something—anything.
And when I finally calmed down, the only thing I could think about was how my life would look without God’s grace? If I couldn’t have peace until I’d experienced by boss’s grace, how much more of a wreck would I be without God?
Do we ever think about that? I mean, seriously. I take it for granted all the time. I’ve gotten used to the idea of walking around living life forgiven. That’s my life. I’m forgiven. I’m free. What do I have to worry about?
That’s so true, but let’s never—never ever—forget what Jesus had to go through so we could live that kind of life.
Don’t forget what it means to you and never hesitate to extend it to someone else. Nobody deserves it, but God hands it out freely. So we should too.
Don’t take it for granted.