Inside: Devotional on showing grace
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The smells of dinner permeated the garage as I parked.
All seemed calm.
- My son was watching youtube videos. (The world these days, right?)
- My daughter was in her room playing a video game.
- And my husband was finishing up a zoom meeting.
Then the storm began…
The first day of a full week of school and both kids had homework.
They were supposed to have been completing homework and eating dinner while my husband was finishing up his meeting.
When I arrived home…
The plates were still full. No homework had been started.
And…the clock taunted me with the time of 7 pm.
A thousand tears, glass-breaking screams, and 2.5 hours later…
Silence after the storm.
We were all to blame and nobody was to blame.
- My husband and I had not set school expectations for the year.
- The kids didn’t do what they were supposed to do.
- I was at work.
- And my husband had a mandatory meeting.
Emotions were high, words were said… Need I go on?
I know you’ve been there too.
Its not how you start, but how you finish.Michael Phelps
An old mentor used to say to me: It’s all about the recovery. He was referring to the operating room nursing role, but I think it translates well to life in general.
We’re not always going to begin well. We’re going to forget to plan, forget to set realistic expectations, or not set any at all.
Or a curveball will be thrown at you, like a nail in your tire, your dog having seizures, or your air conditioning will break. (These have all happened to me in the last year.)
Back to the story at hand:
Tears were bubbling, my body temperature was rising and my fists were clenched,
and heaved a huge sigh. I closed my eyes and the following word popped into my head…
After a few more deep breaths, I walked back to my husband, who was chomping at the bit to tuck my daughter into bed, and said gently,
We just all need to give each other grace.
And you know what? It worked. The night wasn’t without hiccups, but it went much better than it could have.
Now, what do you think of when you hear the word grace?
In one sense we might think of a ballerina, a tightrope dancer, or an ice-skater gliding through the air.
We don’t think of the flaws, rather we focus on the beauty, the grace.
How much more do we need grace for our lives?
And as for our story above on the high-strung Monday night?
My husband and I realized, even more, the value of grace.
We were fixated on countless negative frustrations when we needed to give each other grace. We needed to stop and smell the proverbial roses.
Grace is also defined as unmerited favor.
Now, the idea of grace carried with it the sense of undeserved kindness or approval or acceptance. In other words, charis carried with it the sense of an unmerited or undeserved favor or attitude of kindness. It was regarded as the active expression of unselfish aid or help. The famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle, defined the word in this way. He said:
“Grace was helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor that the helper may get anything, but for the sake of the person who is helped.”Part 1 – What is Grace? by David Guzik (blueletterbible.org)
And in our family story example above, we were all to blame to some extent, and rest assured we did have some discussions. But for that moment, we all needed goodness and grace extended to us.
No I am not always that calm and zen. In fact, that’s the exception rather than the rule. Many times I yell and become frustrated and say hurtful things I shouldn’t say.
Every Sunday during confession, my one prayer is for God to forgive me for being too harsh, too judgmental, and not encouraging enough.
I am never enough.
Couple that with a good dosing of shame, and you got yourself at least an hour’s worth of therapy…
And yet I can rest (and save some money) in the grace and glory of God and know I don’t ever have to be enough.
I never will be enough and I can quit trying.
Of course, I don’t mean not to try and improve in order to become more like Christ.
But I can have the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7) in knowing I can start again while I rest in God’s grace.
And it is only through God’s grace and His power that I can conquer my sins, for it is not by my own power.
And Romans tells us:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.Romans 3: 23-24 (NIV)
I don’t know about you, but I sin daily.
We are supposed to be more and more like Jesus and yet as hard as I try, I still find myself yelling or getting irritated, or just wanting to binge on rocky road ice cream while playing an hour of MarioKart with no kids around.
But we must remember that we are all made in God’s image (including your children, husband, and the nosy neighbor).
And we all sin. Not one of us is perfect. No not one.
And we are all given the gift of God’s grace freely.
In fact, God welcomes sinners into his people.
The harlot, the liar, the murderer, are short of it; but so are you. Perhaps they stand at the bottom of a mine, and you on the crest of an Alp; but you are as little able to touch the stars as they. Everyone falls short, but everyone can be justified freely by His grace.Study Guide for Romans 3 by David Guzik (blueletterbible.org)
So the next time…
You come home to screams and tears and you feel your fists clenching (and there will be a next time), stop and remember God’s grace.
And let the knowledge of God’s grace and love extend to those around you. Because as you were freely given God’s grace, so now you can give freely as well.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of grace? How did that make you feel?
Think of one way this week you can extend grace and make a note on your calendar to act and pray on that moment.
- Grace on the road to other drivers. (for when the maniac cuts you off)
- When helping your kids with homework (may we be reminded of our own struggles with homework)
- Or perhaps a coworker left much of the job undone
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.Romans 3: 23-24 (NIV)
Related: Free Printable on Gods Grace (Bible Verse Cards)
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the gift of grace you have freely given us. May we have the hearts to accept the gift just as we are and be reminded of the grace we need to extend to others. Show me ways I can show grace to others this week.
As always, thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this devotional on grace, I would appreciate your shares on social media.
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