The balance of grace

Grace has a hard balance for me to maintain.

Just when I feel I’m doing a good job with extending it in one direction, God taps me on the shoulder and reminds me of another area. I’ve totally accepted His loving grace to all but sometimes tend to withhold mine from others. Ugly, huh. (Did I just lose the small handful of readers who have kindly ventured forth?)

A friend just offered the question: Why do we want to extend grace to the imperfect and find it hard to offer it to the seemingly perfect? Sigh. She nailed it.

It seems there is always a balance to be thrown off kilter. We’re always taught to love the unlovable. Why is that easier than loving the ones everybody loves?

My daughter just graduated from a school where the vast majority of students come from very comfortable homes. Very. Several years ago, I had a real inward struggle with one of the moms. I don’t know why except that it was whispers from the enemy. She’d never done anything to me. Her kids had never done anything to our daughter. But a nasty little feeling of ill will had crept in and God convicted me big time.

“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)

Ouch! Let me tell you, in the Bible, malice is linked with some pretty yucky sins.

So I prayed about it. And about her.

And God freed my heart.BeFunky_love-nature-beach-sea-heart-sand-free-hd-165409.jpg

I began to see some things I hadn’t seen before. I noticed that her face seemed a bit stretched – and I don’t mean by plastic surgery, but with some inner pain – and I prayed some more. I began to notice areas in which she’d shown bravery and courage, ways she loved her children and how she showed generosity. And as God gave me grace toward her, He also gave me grace toward at least one particular “seemingly perfect” group of people.

I have “tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

You see, God’s grace isn’t just freeing when we accept it for ourselves. It brings freedom when we extend it toward others. No matter who they are.freegraceFotoFlexer_Photo

So much for my desire to not write a personal blog and to stick to a devotional one. But there it is. My reminder to myself to continue to pray:

Please Lord, today help me to be grace-full.