Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Grace to Forgive

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, as God in Christ
forgave you.        Ephesians 4:32 ESV

     In his book In the Grip of Grace, Max Lucado reminds us that “You will never be called upon to give anyone more grace than God has already given you.” In Ephesians chapter four, the Apostle Paul tells us that we should put away bitterness and anger and wrath and be kind to each other; tenderhearted and forgiving.

     God’s unmerited favor towards us, His grace, is bountiful, immeasurable and inexhaustibly flowing from the fountain of His love. We cannot outrun it or outlive it! We cannot lose it or restrict it! We can neither build a wall to keep it out nor lock it up to keep it ours alone. God’s grace is beyond human confinement.

     “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…” (Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV) God’s sacrificial love sent His Son from the halls of heaven to the dirt and grime and sin of earth because He lived out His grace to forgive. In return we are asked to be imitators of the grace of God—to model the grace we give others after the grace that has been given us!

     My heart aches as I remember opportunities that I have had to extend grace yet I did not. I weep at the thought of those whom God has placed in my path who may have had no other opportunity to see grace in action, but I kept it hidden, tucked safely away for another whom I might deem more worthy. Please tell me that I am not the only one.

     Were it not for God’s grace to forgive me for such actions it would be more than my heart could bear. But, God’s grace does forgive. And, He gives to us the grace to forgive ourselves as well as others—the grace to try it again; a do-over.

     So let us, you and me, remember that when we walk in love sprinkling grace along our journey that we are imitating our Heavenly Father who has surely given us grace to forgive.

©JP 2013

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