“…and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” Exodus 33:19 (NASB)
In the movie, “The Shack”, there is a judgment scene. The angel and the young father discuss how God could forgive people that commit horrible acts. The father was placed in a position to judge what would happen to these people and then given the opportunity to judge one of his children to be condemned to hell because of their own wrongdoing. At that moment, it became clear to him that God shows grace to each of his children because of his love for us. God’s grace transcends understanding.
The issue of judgment is never an easy one. When the decision is left up to us, we might choose condemnation over grace. If we choose to step into God’s position as judge and condemn the actions of others, we’ll often forget about the grace moments we have received.
God doesn’t weigh sin the way we have a tendency to do. In his eyes, missing the mark is all the same. When we choose to step into the shoes of the one that violated us instead, witnessing where they stand and why they chose the path they did, we begin to see the need to extend compassion. It is then we recognize why God is the ultimate judge.
His choice of who receives his grace is based upon the heart of the individual and never solely on their actions. We may look at the outward appearance and actions, but God bases his decision of grace on so much more.
Father, teach me to see people through your gracious eyes and not through my own narrow view. I realize that I, too, have sinned and fallen short when it comes to living by your standards. Help me I pray to never take your grace moments for granted in my own life. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Go Deeper — Take a moment to journal about the times that God has extended grace to you throughout your life. It often helps in the moments we need to extend grace to others to recall what he has done for you.
By Mary Pinckney
Used by Permission
Grace Turned Outward
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God.
It is the knowledge that you are pleasing to God right now regardless of what you have or haven’t done.
Grace is the realization that you have already earned a place in the kingdom of God, but you didn’t do anything to get it.
Grace is knowing that the law has already been fulfilled. There isn’t anything more you can do or anything you can add on to make it any better.
Grace is knowing you’re forgiven.
Grace is receiving the gift of being everything you wanted to be.
Grace is looking in the mirror and liking what you see, only because you know that’s what God does.
Grace is a starting point. It’s starting at a point at which you never thought you could be, even if you spent your whole life working for it.
Grace is the absence of judgment.
Grace is utterly and completely received. There is nothing you can do to get it.
Believe it or not, we don’t like this. Grace, as wonderful as it seems, gets turned down every moment of every day. We don’t like it because we have nothing to do with it, and that doesn’t set well with us. We don’t like receiving free gifts; we get very nervous around that. We feel much better being in control of something. We were made this way – made to earn our way. We want to get somewhere by following the rules or sit around and complain about how we can’t. But to start out where we are already pleasing to God … what is that? That doesn’t compute using the math we learned in school. It just doesn’t add up, and that makes us nervous, because if this is true for us, it’s true for everyone. And if this is true for everyone, then it changes dramatically how I see and treat other people.
Or as a friend of mine just taught me: “How dare I judge anyone that Christ gave His life to forgive.”
How dare I lay on other people burdens that Christ has not laid on me.
How dare I have one set of rules for me and another set for everyone else.
How dare I make a big deal about anyone else’s sin except my own.
These last few observations are all about grace turned outward. Once I realize and accept God’s grace for myself, I must of necessity apply it to everyone around me, or I am merely showing that I have, in fact, not received it for myself. You can’t turn grace outward without fully taking it in.
Surrender. Receive. Jesus paid it all; there’s nothing more you can do but accept it. And once you’ve accepted it, you won’t look at anyone the same way again.
By John Fischer
Used by Permission