Grace seems to be quite the buzz word lately. Sermons upon sermons have been preached. Ministries have been birthed. Books have been written.
A lot of what has come forth is good, but other aspects maybe not so much. When it comes to teaching on grace, the pendulum can swing anywhere from a greasy, perversion of grace to a cold, hard, dry distortion of it. Neither of the two extremes are biblical, and thus not healthy.
There’s an aspect of grace that I’ve come to know personally that I don’t think many of us think about much. Or, at least, I never had until recently.
And that is: grace can hurt.
We love being recipients of grace, don’t we? Who wouldn’t? Unmerited favor. Getting what we don’t deserve. Being forgiven of sin, even though we didn’t do anything (and can’t do anything) to earn that forgiveness. Having favor with God and being made His friends, even though we had been His enemies.
Grace is amazing. Grace is good. It’s life-giving. It’s life-changing.
But that’s from the recipient side of things.
It’s when we have to be the givers of grace that it doesn’t always feel so amazing, so good.
What about when someone offends us? What about when someone does something so treacherously wrong that they deserve to be severly punished?
Yet, extending grace to someone is probably one of the most Gospel things we can do.
In the midst of our sin, in the midst of all of our wrongness — Jesus stepped into that mess, our mess, and gave us another chance.
“…you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:11
That’s grace. And really, He didn’t just give us a do-over, rather, He made it as if we never, ever sinned. That’s what justified means.
If God did that for us, who are we to not extend that grace to others? Sure they may not deserve it. It wouldn’t be grace if they did. Sure it may hurt for you to extend that grace. It hurt Jesus as well. He endured such pain and turmoil as He hung on the cross.
In the end, extending grace will be worth it. It may cost you something in the mean time, but think of what goodness will be poured out in someone else’s life because you were willing to give of yourself.
Jesus did it for us. Let’s do it for someone else.
Freely we’ve received, now freely we must give.