I have written a few times about grace and at times how I wish people would have extended grace to me throughout this journey with Hannah, but what about extending grace in our day-to-day lives to all people.
I love what I learned years ago as the acronym for GRACE….Gods Riches At Christ’s Expense. Isn’t that beautiful? God’s grace….like the old hymn….here is the chorus…..
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
grace, grace, God’s grace,
grace that is greater than all our sin!
But, what about our daily lives….do we extend the same kind of grace and love that Christ extended to us? There is so much going on in our society that I disagree with….so many decisions people make that I don’t understand….ethically, morally, politically and religiously BUT….this is where all you Baptists will think I have lost my ever-loving mind…..this is where grace comes in for me.
Here is the thing….I don’t have to agree with people and their choices. I can even think “geez, that person has gone bat-crazy.” But I feel as a Christian and someone that doesn’t deserve the grace that God has extended to me that I also need to think before I speak and extend that same kind of grace to others. Not meaning that I am going to die on the cross for someone’s sins (that has already been done for us and let’s just be real…..I am not qualified to do that as the ONLY person that was, was sinless and did it for us). But, I am capable of extending grace to others….yes, even those that I don’t agree with.
Let’s take Bruce Jenner, er Caitlyn Jenner for instance. I don’t “get it.” I don’t understand the transgender lifestyle. I am perfectly happy with the way God made me and I honestly have NO desire to be a man or carry around “man parts,” if you know what I mean…..ewwww! On the flip side…..my husband is happy to be the way God made him and has no desire to be a woman! So, with that said, I don’t understand what is going on in Bruce Jenner’s head…..or Caitlyn Jenner….whatever he/she wants to be called. All I do know is that God loves Bruce Jenner. He died on the cross for Bruce Jenner and His grace is there for Bruce Jenner. With all of that, who am I not to extend grace to him as well? I don’t understand nor do I agree with the changes he has made but I am not going to sit here in judgement of him as I have NO clue what has gone on in his life to bring him to make this drastic change. I don’t have to agree or disagree with him but I do have to extend grace. If God can, then I certainly have to try.
Most know I am on the very conservative side of things politically and in all honesty having been raised Southern Baptist means that being legalistic and judgmental was all part of that upbringing. I have moved away from that “Southern Baptist” title and I am running as far away as I can from that Legalism. I find it to be so contradictory to live a Christian life and yet refuse to extend grace to those that don’t think or act like you do. I am not saying be the person’s best friend, but show them God’s love and grace through your actions. Instead of being judgemental and negative……extend your hand of acceptance of THEM, not their actions, but them as a person! There is a huge difference in accepting someone for mere humanity sake than accepting the way they live their life and the choices they make (legal choices of course). The bottom line is we are ALL the same. We all are in need of grace….shouldn’t we extend that needed grace to everyone we come in contact with?
I am not a fan of the Duggars….never have been; as my thought has always been that they are living a non-reality life. They live in their own little world and obviously from the news lately they are not what they have preached they were. They haven’t been accepting of others; they have condemned others and their lifestyles and now….well, I would say it has come back to bite them in a huge and devastating way! Should we, as Christians, extend grace? Absolutely! Does that mean I agree with the way Josh’s crime was “swept under the rug” 12 years ago? Absolutely NOT! Should he have had consequences and criminal charges filed at that time…YES! But, if you look at it now and you really see what is happening to him and his family….he is reaping consequences! The life-changing, life altering ones that will now follow him the rest of his adult life. It would have probably been easier for him to have dealt with the consequences as a juvenile than what he will deal with now in the public eye. Be sure your sins will find you out! So, for those that think he has gotten away with something horrible….yes, he did 12 years ago but now he is reaping what he sowed and his family is too. Grace….I am willing to extend it, but grace doesn’t take away from suffering the consequences of your actions; which I believe he and his family are finding out in a very big way.
Now, let me be a little frank here…..extending grace is not always easy and could I do it all.the.time over anything? Not sure, actually. That is left to be seen. A murderer or a drunk-driver who kills a loved one, a rapist who attacks me or someone I know…..I haven’t been faced personally with any of that yet. So, I guess I don’t know yet how I would react and if I would have to eat these words if one of those things happened! Prayerfully, I will never have to find it out. Grace doesn’t take away from consequences of wrong-doing. I want to make my feelings on that very clear. You commit a crime, you should have to pay for it appropriately; even the Bible says that!
I guess this blog post was brought on by several things lately. I have had in-depth conversations with friends and family members about this subject. Some agree and some don’t. Maybe this post is me preaching to myself to always remember to extend grace. I don’t want to be the person kicking another when they are down. I don’t want anyone looking at me through judgemental eyes; so I need to be careful not to do it to others. I don’t want to judge anyone based on the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their financial means (or lack thereof), their age, sex or the choices they make. So many people will argue that we as Christians if we “accept” the person then we are “accepting” whatever it is that we disagree with. That is a lie! Does God deny you for your sins? Does he turn His back on you for whatever it is that causes you to stumble? Crap, if that is the case then I am in BIG trouble! The God I love and serve loves me in spite of myself. He loves me for who I am, not by what I do! That is all I am saying. Let’s love people……extending grace and allowing Christ love to radiate through us! So many people are hurting and just need to be loved and shown Christ love……I am working on that in my own life. Extending grace to those that need it most!
I CHOOSE GRACE!
Until next time……..