Grace in - Grace out

Psalm 103:7-14
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
These verses point out a powerful truth. God sees us for who we are, and he is still loving and patient toward us anyway. God forgives our sin quickly when we ask. He sends it “as far as the east is from the west.”
As Christians, the grace (or unearned favor) of God covers every part of our lives. We might overlook its power, but God pours out His grace on us freely.
Everyday I don’t live up to God’s perfection in some way. Some days I am short with my husband and get frustrated too easily. At times, I have trouble forgiving when others hurt me, or I let a bad attitude get the best of me. Don’t get me started on how easily frustrated I get in traffic! But even on my worst day, when I am the farthest thing from gracious, God still pours out His grace on my life. He chooses to see me for the value I have in Him, and He forgives me and loves me because of that.
This is the beautiful part about grace. There is nothing I can do to earn it. I can’t read my Bible enough, share my faith enough, or make enough good choices to earn God’s approval. He loves me because I belong to Him through Jesus. The minute we understand this fact and start to live like it’s true, everything changes. Our relationship with God becomes an actual relationship and not some spiritual gymnastics routine. When we accept that there is nothing we can do to earn more of God’s favor we can rest and feel secure in His love.
After we accept the grace of God in our lives, the hard part which is also the best part begins. We have to give that grace away to others. When we allow the grace of God into our lives, it must flow out of our lives.
Stop and think about how you treat others, are you forgiving and gracious toward them? Do you actively seek God’s help to love others like God loves you?
I’ll be the first to admit that often I am more selfish than I am gracious. I want to love others the way that God loves me, but it’s hard. People are messy! Loving people is just as messy. People are rude sometimes, or they don’t do the things we think they should. Other times, people are hurtful and don’t have our best interest at heart. Whatever the reason might be, loving others the way that God loves us isn’t an easy thing to do. Most of us don’t have the strength to love others on our own. That’s because we need God’s help. When we admit that our love for others is imperfect, God will give us His love for others. His love for others will flow through us for their sake.
We were bought with a price that we could never pay, the sinless perfect life of Jesus. Because of His sacrifice, God smiles on us and is gracious to us. God no longer condemns us. This forgiveness comes freely to us, all we have to do is ask.

So if grace is given to us freely we must give grace to others just as freely. Take a moment to ask God for His help today. My simple prayer for you and I is:

Lord I want to understand your grace. I want to be confident in your love for me. God give me eyes to see others the way you see them. You see them for who they are and you still love them deeply. Help me to forgive those who hurt me. Fill my heart with patience toward those who are different than me, and please forgive me for the times that I fall short. Be glorified God in all that I say and do. Amen.

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