Yesterday I was reminded of a particular time that I did not give grace. Instead, I became righteously indignant. I even used Scripture to show a family member where they were wrong. I didn’t give grace and I was, therefore, not loving. God’s Word says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7) In the particular instance I’m referring to I was NOT patient or kind. Instead I was proud, I dishonored another, I was angry, and I kept a record of wrongs.
I failed miserably in building this other person up, choosing instead to tear them down. I was wrong; not just wrong but I sinned. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Eph. 4:29)
I had to take that to the Lord and repent from my sin. Through the Lord’s guidance, I was able to move back into relationship by asking for and giving grace. We were able to begin our relationship anew from that place. I was reminded of that yesterday because of a prayer request for others that I love that may be stuck in seeing each other from previous patterns. The Lord’s mercy is new each morning (Lam. 3:22-23); shouldn’t we give the same to each other?
This morning I was singing along to Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave. He is singing about his past for which he has been forgiven: Seems like all I could see was the struggle; Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past; Bound up in shackles of all my failures; Wondering how long is this gonna last; Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”. I am redeemed, You set me free; So I’ll shake off these heavy chains, Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be; I am redeemed, I’m redeemed.
Today I’m reminded that nothing I did made me deserving of the mercy the Lord gave me–it was His gift of grace. He is refining me daily so that He can see His own reflection in me. No matter what someone has shown themselves to be in the past, I hold out the hope that Creator and merciful God can change anyone. Just like He is changing me, everyone has the opportunity to be changed into a new person in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17).
I will speak only what will make them hunger for Christ, will build them up in Christ, and allow His love and grace to flow through me. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Col. 4:6) Instead of showing someone their offense, I will extend grace and take what I might be tempted to say to them to the Lord. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Col. 4:2)