If you’ve been reading along since October 1st, you’re probably learning way more about me than you ever intended. One thing you’ve hopefully learned is that grace – making space for it, practicing it, or extending it to myself and others – does not come naturally for me. Last Sunday, during a sermon on divorce, my pastor spoke a powerful truth that has been moving from my head to my heart.
I will never have to forgive more or extend more grace than what has already been done for me.
He could have made that one statement and sat down. When I think about maturing, growing in my faith and growing up in general, starting to understand my own brokenness and the depth of forgiveness I have in Christ is crucial. Reading through the Gospel accounts of Jesus, I am continually struck by how people responded to Him. They were amazed, they left behind old lives, they repented of their sins; said simply, one encounter with Jesus radically changed their lives. This is because one moment in the presence of a perfect man led them to a greater understanding of their utter depravity, but experiencing unconditional love from Him caused them to view the world in a different way.
I wish I could have the opportunity to interact directly with Jesus, but for now, I have the Holy Spirit living inside of me, molding me into a woman more like Himself. It is the Holy Spirit, God inside of me that urges me towards grace and forgiveness even when my flesh wants to hold a grudge. The Spirit reminds me that I’m freely given grace therefore I can forgive myself. Knowing just how much I’ve been forgiven from moves me to extend grace faster to others. I can forgive because I’ve been forgiven. I’m no better than anyone else. I’m above no sin.
I am freely given grace. I can move from keeping score to freely extending grace towards others. In Christ, the playing field is even. Jesus has paid the price for my sin. I am completely forgiven. Just like the early Christians, my encounters with Jesus and His grace can move me to a radically different life, one driven by moving towards others and giving abundant grace because of the forgiveness I’ve already received.