“Why should God care about me when I’m just…me?”
Have you ever found yourself wondering this, or heard it from the lips of someone you know? Barring those with a seared conscience who can’t hear the voice of reason within them no matter what, I think most of us have an inherent sense that we are fallen. This doesn’t amount to us walking around hating ourselves, it simply means we’re intrinsically aware that we fall short. Price of being a fallen race living in a fallen world.
But think about this: Scripture doesn’t say “but mankind was so cool and righteous and awesome, God sent His only son…”
No. “For God so loved.”
That love hasn’t expired, you know? People were no more righteous, no more deserving of divine favor back then than we are now; in fact, arguably, we were further from God than ever at the time, as the blood of Jesus hadn’t yet paid the price for sins. Yet what remains eternal before, during, and after the life of Jesus is God’s love, and through that love, His grace—first the grace that He gave His Son, and now the grace that even though we are all just me, He is invested, concerned, and at work in our lives as much as we will invite Him in.
How do we react to grace? I ask myself this often, but I think I’m finally coming to understand it:
- I have to stop trying to deserve it (never going to happen)
- I have to stop telling God I shouldn’t have it (He gets to make that call, not me)
- I have to start being thankful for it (stop waiting for the shoe to drop)
- I have to pay it forward—as I’ve been given grace, grace should I give (the REALLY hard one).
What is Grace?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines grace as “unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.” Biblically, grace is often spoke of in tandem with peace, because the divine assistance of God that comes regardless of how far short we fall is a great comfort to so many!
Grace is a cornerstone principle in the Christian’s relationships with God and one another, because we are all part of God’s family by grace through our acceptance of Jesus as our Lord. In return, we show grace to others, knowing we are all equally undeserving and yet equally sanctified by the blood of Jesus, and thus all equal members of his Body.
What Does the Bible Say About Grace?
Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through trust, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Romans 3:24 – but [all] are declared righteous freely by his grace through the redemption that is accomplished in Christ Jesus
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17: Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and by grace gave us Age-abiding encouragement and a good hope, encourage and establish your hearts in every good work and word.
Colossians 4:6 – Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you come to know how you must respond to each one.
How Can I Become More Gracious?
One of the greatest grace-builders in our lives is when we recognize the grace that has been given to us and how we are called to “pay it forward”. None of us deserves God’s grace; none of us deserves to be in God’s family on our own merit. Yet when we were still dead in our sins, God gave His Son for us, and He opened the door for us to come into his family. You have been given that grace; rather than bragging about how we deserved it, we should focus on ensuring as many people as possible are saved through that grace, too!
In the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, Jesus warns against a refusal to forgive (show grace) to others when we ourselves have been forgiven of much. Graciousness has its roots in recognizing what God has lavished on us—grace upon grace—and striving to spread the life-changing message and benefits of that grace to those around us.
When you struggle to be gracious toward other people, remember the grace that was shown to you, and then step forward to live out that same grace in how you deal with others.
Is there a place in your life where you could give more grace to someone—even yourself? How would the abundant grace of God exemplify the way forward in this situation?