Don’t Just Say Grace – Extend Grace

Imagine this scene for just a moment.

One of your relatives or friends stands before a judge having just received an irrevocable sentence of death.

The judge looks out on the courtroom and asks if anyone has any words before the condemned is sent to death row.

Several of you ask to speak and here is what you say:

“He never listens, you know. Year after year, it’s always been about him. He never cares what I think.”

“Yeah, and he never comes to church, not even when he knows it would mean so much to me.”

“You know what else? He’s never said thank you for anything I’ve done. You’d think at least once I would hear a thank you, but no.”
Or

“She is so critical. Year after year, you’d think she’d have found something nice to say about me, but no.”

“I’m tired of her gossip and, have you seen the way she dresses, judge? Like she’s up for sale.”

“She thinks she’s so smart. Too smart to believe that maybe I’ve been right all along.”

When you’re done speaking, the judge turns to all of you with a look of astonishment and says, “Your loved one already stands condemned, people. Even if all you say is true, he/she already stands condemned to death. What else would you add to the judgment I have already handed down?”

Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

But we do it all the time. We play it out in living rooms or restaurants or car rides holiday after holiday. Complaining about the loved ones with whom we are about to gather or with whom we just gathered. Heaping charge upon charge on them for crimes against us.

Suppose the loved one has appeared before the judge, been found guilty but then another has offered to take the punishment for him. Another will die in his place.

Seems even more absurd, at that point, to bring up our petty complaints, doesn’t it?

I’m thinking that this Thanksgiving, not only should we all SAY grace, we should also then EXTEND grace to the people sharing the table with us.

Life is hard enough these days. We’re all worn down. Giving thanks is a Herculean task in itself.

Maybe we can offer one another what we have been offered ourselves by the Only One with the credentials to judge – Jesus Christ.

Among the definitions of “grace” at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ are these:

5. A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence.
6. A temporary immunity or exemption; a reprieve.
8. a. Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people.
b. The state of being protected or sanctified by the favor of God.
c. An excellence or power granted by God.

The Bible has much to say about grace. Paul reminded the Ephesians “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”Ephesians 2:8

(This writer’s paraphrase – “Get over yourself, Christian! You didn’t discover God. He made Himself known to you and you’re darn blessed that He did so shut up about how great you are – you’re not. He’s the only One worth bragging about.”

Timothy reminded Christ followers of this same truth: “ 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” 2 Timothy 1:9

Once again, key point – “NOT BECAUSE OF ANYTHING WE HAVE DONE!”

And Paul exhorted the Colossians with these words: “5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”Colossians 4:5

Can we do that as we gather this holiday? After we have SAID grace, can we then EXTEND grace to those around us? Can we let our conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt? Can we, in the name of Jesus, be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”?

I believe we can.

This Thanksgiving, what better way for us to show Him our gratitude than to display His likeness in our own words and actions?

God bless, loved ones. And“14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”2 Corinthians 13:14


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1 Comment

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  1. Karin says:

    I’m going to quote you on my facebook! You’ve said it so well again!