I had a very enlightening conversation with a friend of mine today. We talked a lot about grace.
If you look up grace in the dictionary - you'll find many definitions . . . but I found two of them very interesting . . .
Grace - elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.
- mercy; clemency; pardon: an act of grace.
Mercy is defined as compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.
Grace, to me, is the ability to forgive, to REALLY forgive, someone who has wronged you. Grace means not holding something over someone's head, but moving on from it. And then (here's the kicker) loving that person, not in spite of their wrong, but because of it.
Has anyone ever shown you grace? Can you think of a time when you did something terrible to someone and you felt so bad that you didn't want forgiveness because you didn't think you deserved it? And then that person not only forgave you anyway - but kept on loving you, perhaps even more than they did before your offense? That is grace . . . something I am learning that I really need to work on.
However, the first definition really stood out to me. When you think of the word 'graceful' you might think of a ballet dancer, or a piece of music that soothes you, a polite little girl in a pretty dress, or something so beautiful that it makes you cry . . . but I also think of that person who forgave me when I didn't deserve it.
True grace is really beautiful.
My friend and I also discussed how many Christians exhibit judgment when they should be exhibiting grace.
It seems like churches go in spurts over what the current BIG SIN is; what sin is most offensive at the time. Divorce, homosexuality, adultery, chocolate . . . (Okay, so chocolate probably isn't often listed, but as much as I think about it, it could be . . .) It doesn't seem to matter that sin is sin is sin. For some reason, people tend to believe that some sins are so much worse than others -- and they make sure everyone knows about it.
Instead of pointing out the 'sin of the month' and how awful and terrible it is . . . why don't we spend our time giving grace to those who are entrenched in that sin? God taught us to love each other - not look down as judge from a self-imposed pulpit screaming SINNER!!!
If there is someone we know that is involved in something that really turns our stomach and we can't even begin to fathom why they do this thing that we don't even like to discuss . . . maybe we need to pray for God to help us show grace to this person. I guarantee that our sincere love and grace will go a lot further than a disproving stare over our glasses or the disgust we whisper about when we think they aren't listening.
Remember that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23) Notice that said ALL. Not SOME. But ALL. We all have sinned. We all sin. And our sins are no worse or better than someone else's. So before we jump on the judgment wagon for the sin of the month - why not try grace? It's a beautiful thing.