Being bipolar I’ve ran my fair share of escapades in my life…trouble with the law, financial trouble, relational trouble, lost friends, lost jobs, wasted opportunities, etc. But at the same time I’ve received the greatest gift of all, grace. Grace from my wife and my family. When my wife could’ve left she never has. She’s always had faith in me and showered me with her grace and forgiveness.
We all have set opinions and beliefs about grace and second changes. For most of us it’s our culture (church, or lack of), upbringing, friends and even our own prejudices that craft these beliefs. One of the most widespread believes about grace is that it is conditional. That it can be poured out based upon “this” criteria or “that” criteria, but not “this” criteria or “that” criteria.
Grace is biased. Grace is conditional. People are comfortable with past drinking and partying; especially if you throw in there in some church outreach. But what if I abused my wife or was unfaithful? People aren’t comfortable with infidelity, or abuse, maybe because it hits too close to home. Whatever the reason, this kind of grace isn’t unconditional; it’s biased.
Biased grace alienates and isolates — and it’s what real grace was never meant to be.
Our ideas about grace are way too small. Second chances are the greatest gifts we can give someone. Grace is a lifestyle, not an idea or concept. It can be debated, discussed, and preached along with second chances but that won’t change anything. Grace has to be unleashed in our day-to-day lives. Our real beliefs about grace will be carried out in our actions whether we realize it or not. Are we real or are we fake, and we can’t hide it.
Many people I meet are reminders of why we need to be purposeful about Grace. We have to strive to be like Christ, and actively fight against our grace bias. We need to look for opportunities, not just to practice “grace equality,” but to practice this radical grace….uncomfortable grace,–even for the adulterer, the bigot, the blasphemer, the broken.
When we don’t show grace to someone who doesn’t show grace, we’ve lost sight of the meaning of grace.
We are called time and time again to give big grace to others. We’ve taken on the job of extending friends and strangers with this grace. Admitting that people ruin us, abuse us and wound us we will still extend (or at least try to extend) God’s infinite grace to them.
Have you ever felt the glaring eyes of judgment from someone? Have you heard words that have left you feeling like you weren’t good enough? Have you been in conversations where you’ve heard someone get run down, and you wonder what they say about you when you’re not around? Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong? Have you ever felt like something you did in your past now defines you to the people you know?
How often we are the one’s quick to judge? How often do I make assessments about someone before I know the whole story when I have my own story?
Do I freely give grace and second chances?
No, I cannot change people…control people…make people behave in a way I think is appropriate.
I CAN be kind…love more…ask their perspective before forming my opinion…show grace…Love never fails.
Our ability to offer grace and forgiveness cannot be dependent on if we receive it first or not. We just have to give it. And while it can be hard and uncomfortable, God gives us what we need to help us dispense complete grace and forgiveness when we feel like doing anything else but that. Grace and forgiveness never begins with a feeling.
One act, one comment, one hug, could radically change the destiny of someone else.
Today exists not because the sun and moon need something to do. Today is the double-overtime opportunity for grace to battle our culture where pain is entertaining, and brokenness runs rampant.
We all will have chance after chance before the day is done to show grace to someone, it may take effort, it may feel awkward, but it is a very real choice.