Hebrews 12:15 says this: See to it that no one misses the grace of God. NIV
I picked up a copy of Grace is Greater by Kyle Idleman, teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and dove right in. I like Kyle’s way of teaching and his books are always easy to read. I’m not saying they aren’t filled with useful, spiritual things to help us grow, but he has unique delivery that invites us to explore. I expected this book to be no different from the others, but let’s get real…it’s about grace. What could be bad about grace?
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about grace at all. In fact, if not for the grace of God…
But this book? This book was a harder read than I was expecting. I was a bit taken aback. Had Kyle pulled a fast one on those of us who are fans of his teaching style? Because this book, well, it’s a little bit more than just about grace.
It IS about grace but it’s also about forgiveness.
Here’s what I’m learning as I wade through this grace thing. God is full of grace. His mercies are new every morning according to Lamentations. But that’s not a one and done, automatic sort of deal. What I’m seeing is you only receive the amount of grace that you extend to others.
That may seem unfair to some, but here’s what I know…you can’t do grace with unforgiveness in your heart. Grace is all about forgiving. Forgiving the big things and the small. Being a follower of Christ requires something of us. It requires that we live the way Jesus lived. It means to actively follow after His teachings. It means to extend grace to those who have wronged us, even if they are unaware of the wrong.
My friend Carolyn, introduced me to the phrase “Race for Grace”. The idea is to be the first one to forgive, or to extend grace regardless of who is at fault.
Be the first one to step up to the plate and give grace, even if it’s not deserved. Especially if it’s not deserved~ Because grace is a gift. It’s a gift we extend to someone who doesn’t necessarily deserve it.
We extend grace because grace has been given to us by the Father, when He sent His son.
Unforgiveness is a life-stealer. It comes cleverly disguised as justice. In truth, it steals our life and our joy if we don’t know how to let go.
Extending grace doesn’t mean to forget the horrible things that were done to us. That’s not even possible. It means to choose to let God be the one to decide and to deal with the person who has offended however He sees fit. And then we get to experience freedom.
Freedom to live.
Freedom to love.
And freedom to pray for those who have wronged us.