We say "grace" before meals. We sing about it in countless songs. Who hasn't heard "Amazing Grace?" We know we need grace, we struggle to give grace, but do we really know what grace is? Do we really know what grace should look like in our own lives? It's a concept that just doesn't rationally make sense. It's irrational.
Grace is defined as the love and mercy that God gives us--even though we don't deserve it and have done nothing to earn it--just because he wants us to have it. Grace is something given to us that we haven't earned. We live in a culture of entitlement where a lot of people think they deserve stuff they have done nothing to earn, but where we will rarely give to others unless we think they deserve something. That is rational to us. You get what you earn/deserve.
Case in point: The guy that's always holding a sign begging for money down by Taco Bell. Or maybe it's by Wal-mart or Starbucks for you. God tells us to take care of those in need, but how often do we drive by him and think, He's at it again. If only he'd spend this much time looking for a job. Have we taken the time to figure out why he is in need? Probably not. We just assume he's looking for an easy hand-out. That he's lazy. But he doesn't deserve anything if he's not willing to work for it, right? We're not so good at grace, so it's hard to understand how God can be so full of grace toward us.
Grace is something that becomes more understandable as a parent, I think. We want so much for our kids. We want them to have the things they want. We want them to be able to live safely and comfortable. We want to pick them up when they fail and make everything right for them. We give them far more than they need because it makes us happy to see our kids happy. It's even hard for us to take away the things they love as punishment because we want them to be happy. Especially as our kids are little, they rarely ever do anything that makes them earn the good things we give them. It would be irrational to think that they could earn all the things that we give them, let alone just the things they need.
To God, WE are those little kids. We rarely ever do anything that makes us deserve any of the things He gives us. We definitely are never perfect enough to earn the love, mercy and salvation He gives., but he continually gives it to us. Continually. Irrationally. He wants so much for us. When I think about that, I'm overwhelmed and I feel ashamed. I don't often see myself extending that same grace to others in my own life. When people screw up, I get mad and I'm not quick to forgive or show mercy. When my husband annoys me, I'm quick to snap back, rather than show love and grace. When my kids disobey for the 97th time before 8 a.m., I'm just not very gracious All of these situations can be handled with grace, even when hard conversations and correction needs to take place, but it's often just easier for me to fly off the handle or let anger and bitterness fester inside me. I think with my rational mind about grace, but I need to give grace in irrational doses.
Why show irrational grace to others? Because our lives are to look like Christ's. We can't look like Christ if we don't also have His irrational grace for others and for ourselves. Thankfully, even though this is a struggle I'm sure we all have, God's grace is still there to irrationally offer us that love and mercy.
God, help us to see our world through the eyes of your irrational grace!
As part of a 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be posting every day in October. The link on the left will get you to the home page for this series, where you can find all the posts written so far. Don't forget you can Subscribe to get posts sent to you by email. (There is a simple form towards the top on the right where you can do this.) Thanks for reading!
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