Let me first say, Christmas is my all-time favorite holiday. The best part, in my opinion, is opening the presents. Not opening presents myself, but watching my loved ones open their presents that I had picked for them, and getting to see the over-joyed look on their faces when they know it is perfect. Giving is very easy for me during this time of year, because I know, that when I have picked out the perfect present, I get to see my family’s over-joyed faces. One thing, though, I have always found myself struggling to give, is grace.
Now, when I say grace, I do not mean the grace of a dancer as she floats across the stage, or how a lion sprints across the safari and gracefully catches its prey. The grace I am speaking of today is more about redemption, than creation. When we find ourselves straying from God’s ways, wanting to make our own choices and choose our own ways, it is known as the Original Sin. This sin can lead us down dark alleyways, broken and confused, but when we ask for God’s help, his amazing grace rescues us. Some of you may know the older hymn Amazing Grace, as it is stated in the song,
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.”
God’s grace opens our hearts to see the goodness of his ways, and for us to use that grace upon others also.
When someone does me wrong, my first instinct is to get mad and take revenge. And I am not saying just a little mad. I have been mad enough that by the end of the week, I am planning their funeral, because they are about to meet the good Lord (I’m kidding, of course). The LAST thing I ever want to do, is give them grace. Why should I only show grace, if they have purposely done wrong to me? I had to learn the answer to that question myself, and it was not quite so easy, so I will help out the readers right now.
In Romans 12: 17-21, scripture says, ” ‘17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (ESV)”
If our enemy still does not see the good after we have given all the grace we can, we must leave them to God’s wrath. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” It is right for me to show my enemy grace, for my enemy needs to know I am not vengeful, but forgiving, and that I follow a great God, who leads my heart.
As this article has been written, notice I only used first person, and the unified “we”. We have all made mistakes, whether it be last week, forgetting to take out the trash, or yesterday, ripping up a few of Mom’s flowers along with some weeds (oops!), or even this morning, accidentally leaving Chuck E. Cheese without one of your kids, and not noticing until halfway home. Let’s not leave out the mistakes that will undoubtedly happen in the future. One thing I firmly believe is, everyone deserves to be given grace after their mistakes. These questions have been on my mind frequently lately, and I encourage my readers to ponder these questions also: How is it honorable for us, expecting grace for our mistakes, if we do not go into this world and show the true grace of God to others through our actions? Do we deserve the grace we believe to be ours, if we do not show grace to others?