March 31, 2009

The Intersection of Grace

When this topic was originally suggested to me to do as a guest post, I said to myself it was one I should have written about some time ago. I have been blogging for about nine months now and have not hit this topic hard. I am an evangelical Christian so I should have gotten around to this before now. I do not think it is going to be used, so I decided to post it myself, as I like the message. If it appears elsewhere, that is not so bad either.

As I started to think of grace, I thought of an intersection, a 4-way street. The north-south street is one's relationship to God; the east west thoroughfare the relationship to each other.

In the circles of faith where I spend my time, the thoughts of grace are usually centered on a gracious God who forgives us for sins if we place our faith in Christ. Forgiveness that is available to all if you just come to that faith. A forgiveness all need but none deserve, even those who have come to that faith and may think they are better people because of it. They are not better, just forgiven. That's the grace part. That's the part God does if you come to trust in the way He asks.

That's grace coming down to us; there is also a component of grace that should be going up the road as well. Grace to accept what He has put in your life, no matter if it is good or bad. Grace to accept a God ordained will and be thankful for the grace extended to you, no matter what. That's an element of grace even the most faithful will struggle with at times. Things will not always be great, not always be rosy. I do not believe that is what is promised in Scripture. You need to graciously accept the grace offered, in the manner offered. For there is a plan beyond your comprehension decided by an infinite mind you cannot possibly understand. You need to have the grace to accept that.

There is another road grace travels on, the east-west road running between people. If you have accepted the grace of God, you really need to extend a measure of grace to others. Accept them as flawed individuals, struggling with sin, with their own set of issues. Accept them for what they are, even as you try to help them be better. Accept them as you need them to accept you. The fact of the matter is that you are the same type of flawed, sinful person that they are. You are no better than them, even if you have been blessed by the grace of God. Chances are you are worse.

The fact that grace has been extended to you by God puts you in a difficult position. Not to extend it to others exposes you as an ingrate, someone who truly does not understand or appreciate what they have been given. Someone who misses in large measure what has been done to release them from a standard of behavior they cannot possibly meet on their own.

Granted grace is a dangerous possession. Because to whom much is given, much is expected in return.

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