Sunday, March 16, 2008

...across the room for grace....

Have you ever read a book so intriguing you can not get past the second chapter?  Often it is not so much that the topic is so new but that it talks to you at just the right time of your life. At least that is what happens to me some times.  I have to savour the chapters and let the lessons sink in and become part of who I am.
This book is about "grace" ... making grace a lifestyle.  The author describes this generation as the most self-centered generation ever.  It's all about "me".  My needs, my rights, my wants, my feelings etc.  He says that our behavior communicates our understanding of God's grace in our lives.
He says that grace is not tolerance, weakness, refusal to confront sin or avoid speaking truth. Grace recognizes the full ugliness of sin yet offers undeserved pardon and blessing.  It is a gift of kindness (undeserved).  It is not reciprocal.  It goes one way.  It is costly ... someone has to pay the price.  It looks at potential in people, focuses on solutions, leads to action and motivates God to relate to us moment by moment.  It is the lubricant that eases friction, expects the best but offers freedom to fail, celebrates sucess and does not keep score of wrongs.
He says that God's grace is available to free us from any kind of bondage.  It could be anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, or anxiety for example.  If we live in bondage of any kind, he says, we as Christians have received God's grace in vain.  By His grace He has provided a way for us to live in freedom, abundantly and joyfully.
He says that when God looks at us He sees us through eyes of grace, not at what we are, but what we could be.  Grace looks beyond our past and focuses on the future.
How like God to see me not as I am today, but what He knows I am capable of becoming one day.  That's why I can  never feel satisfied or content when I feel angry or bitter about something or choose not to forgive someone.  He wants to keep growing me into the woman He planned for me to be.  I want to be a channel for God's grace to flow to those around me.  
So next time someone is on my tail all the way to Costco I hope I will remember to see the person through eyes of grace rather than focusing on how much of the road behind me belongs to me.  Maybe the eyes of grace will allow me to consider what kind of driver he might be in a year or so!  I hope to exercise grace instead of space next time a car load of hormonal teens park too close to my  precious vehicle just long enough to bless me with a few dollars!
The book I'm reading is "Putting a Face on Grace" by Richard Blackaby and most of the above is from the book.


Anonymous said...

A good reminder and a great lesson. You should be a teacher!

If there's one thing I lack in spades, it's grace. Definately something I should be working on! I think I'll start today...

Thanks Mom!

Love, Michele

Stacey said...

I was reading your post and thinking 'what's the book?' I need the name of that book! And then you left it at the end, thank you!

Grace comes more easily with age and wisdom and as your Faith matures, and though a couple of times I've surprised myself and said, 'wow you've changed. You wouldn't have handled that so gracefully a few years ago!' Having said that, I have a long way to go. I'll have to pick that book up... pronto!

Thanks Elayne.

Jobina said...

"It is costly..."
Wow, you're not kidding! True grace is really hard to give. I mean to look right in the face of those ugly sins and offer pardon and blessings! It's tough, very tough. Yet when you think of all that we've been forgiven, how can we offer any less to our fellow man? Sounds like a good book!