Monday, July 10, 2017

God's Grace Requires Us to Show Grace

I read something from UpWords with Max Lucado. He said, "So, how often do you sin, hmm… in an hour?  For the sake of discussion, let’s say ten times an hour.  Ten sins an hour, times sixteen waking hours, times 365 days a year, times the average life span of 74 years.  I’m rounding the total off to 4,300,000 sins per person!  How do you plan to pay God for your 4.3 million sin increments?  You’re swimming in an ocean of debt. But God pardons the zillion sins of selfish humanity.  He forgives sixty million sin-filled days.  He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where He always wanted us to be.  And He did it by the grace of Jesus Christ."

If we are Christians, then we have been the recipients of God's incredible grace, pardon and forgiveness. Do we freely offer this grace, pardon and forgiveness we have received to those who hurt, offend, upset or wound us? Are our lives marked by grace - not only receiving it, but in generously giving it to others? Consider the following -
  • In Matthew 18 we see a conversation between Jesus and Peter; "Peter came up to the Lord and asked, 'How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?' 22 Jesus answered: 'Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!'" - Jesus wants us to be people who forgive without keeping track of how many times we have done so.
  • If we are people who claim to have the call of God on our lives, how can we be people who do not generously forgive?
I've been talking about church politics recently. There are few things as damaging and hurtful as church politics. Where there is church politics there is a complete lack of grace. But aside from church politics, there are other situations in our lives where we withhold grace. Do you have a broken relationship with a friend? A sibling? A parent? A spouse? There is no situation, biblically, where we are justified in refusing to resolve a conflict. "God pardons the zillions of sins of selfish humanity", how can we refuse to pardon those who sin against us? Why do we need to be people who generously give grace to others? Consider the following -
  • Look at Luke 6: "37 Jesus said: Don’t judge others, and God won’t judge you. Don’t be hard on others, and God won’t be hard on you. Forgive others, and God will forgive you. 38 If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return. It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap. The way you treat others is the way you will be treated."
  • Don't judge others - God is judge, we are not able to judge others without getting something wrong. When we judge others, we only cause more pain.
  • Forgive - we want God's forgiveness - and we need it, but if we do not forgive others, we can not experience the grace of God and His power working in our own lives. For those of us in ministry, this is one of the things which will kill our ministry - an unforgiving heart.
  • If we are people who forgive and give grace to others generously we will experience God's grace, "packed down and spilling over" in our own lives!
  • The way we treat others is the way we will be treated!
Do not let unforgiveness destroy your ministry. Jesus clearly wants us to be people who are generous about forgiving others and showing grace to them - how can we be any less in light of what He has done for us?

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