Regifting Grace (it’s a Good thing)
Grace is a gift. A gift costs nothing to the one receiving the gift… ever. God gives me grace because of Who He is, not because of anything I am or do… I can’t earn it or “pay Him back” for it. It is a gift. Even though God gives me grace daily, I had a difficult time putting words to my thoughts about grace with any clarity. Naturally, I Googled it.
Grace is unmerited favor. This definition reminded me of teachings I have heard that mercy is not getting what I deserve, and grace is getting what I don’t deserve.
Mercy is also a gift, and it spares me from the things I am due. Romans 6:23a tells me “the wages of sin is death…” so the mercy of Christ’s sacrifice paid the price so that I would be spared the death I am due.
Grace is next level. Jesus’ resurrection takes us from simply being delivered from death and the wages of my sin, and delivers me to restored relationship with God, Himself< and to life… eternal and abundant life. I do NOT deserve such favor, and yet God has given me this gift of grace along with mercy.
I am called to love others as my brothers and sisters… period. No matter how much alike or different we are, or how much I like them or don’t even want to spend time with them… I am to love. Using Christ’s example, love includes both mercy and grace.
Mercy can be tough for me. I am called to forgive. What that means is that I am supposed to let go of any hurt that someone else has brought into my life. I am to die to the “right” that I have to remind them and hold them accountable for the harm they have done. I am to be merciful leave room for God to touch their heart, which positions me to have the restorative and healing work done in my own heart. This is mercy, and nobody said it would be easy. Even Jesus would tell you that this is an expensive and elaborate gift to give.
Grace is even tougher for me! Grace requires that I release the idea of life being “fair” or that “they will reap what they sow” as a veiled expectation that what goes around comes around. Grace means that the person who finally surrenders to Christ as Lord and Savior on their deathbed is no more and no less favored than a person who grew up in church, accepted Christ in youth group and lived a lifetime honoring and serving God.
Let’s simplify this. Would I really want life that is “fair” or based on what I deserve? If I got what I deserved, and only what I deserved, I would be barred from relationship with God and the abundant life He gives… and I would be condemned justly to eternal suffering in that separation from God. If I think that there are parts of this life that have been a struggle, the fact is I would not even be able to struggle without grace and mercy. I would be reaping all that I have sown, and I would be defeated… devastated.
But God is Gracious. He is Love. He is full grace and mercy. He gives me undeserved, unearned, overflowing favor. In the Old Testament, God’s character and actions are frequently described as gracious, from the Hebrew word chânan ( חָנַן ) which includes the imagery of bending or stooping in kindness to an inferior. We are all created in His image and are equal in His eyes, so this is not about inferiority among people.
Picture it. My wife, Crystal, and I explored the definitions of favor, the themes that stood out were preferential treatment, a gift, a liking or support, raising someone up even as if they were in a “lower” position than you, and treating an injured limb to keep from putting the full weight on it. Favoring an injured leg… limping… at first this didn’t seem helpful to understand grace. In this picture, the gift is two-fold as relief from the pain is merciful and the opportunity to prevent further injury and restoration to health is gracious. Going back to the image of bending or stooping paints a picture of someone who is injured or hurting… physically, emotionally, spiritually… like he found me!
Grace… Regifting it God has given me many gifts, and He keeps giving them. Among them are Love, mercy, and grace. I must use these gifts to help others, but not just because I am supposed to. As His Love overflows my cup, it spills over onto those around me. The same is true with mercy and grace. I am going to be more attentive to the gifts He gives me, recognize each gift rather than looking at a gift basket, and I will thank Him for each of these gifts. Doing this will help me to see others that are hurting or in need as brothers and sisters, rather than deserving or undeserving.
Thank You for seeing me through Your mercy and grace. Thank You that I do not only am spared from all that I do deserve, but that You have favored me with so much that I do not deserve. Help me recognize and appreciate each gift you give me and reveal ways that I can use them to serve others for Your glory!
This blog was written by Kenn Pritchard. Kenn and his wife, Crystal, are the house parents for Anchor house.
Kenn Pritchard and his wife, Crystal, are the house parents for Anchor house. Kenn is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor (LCAS), and Licensed Minister. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Rehabilitation Counseling and Administration in the Department of Addiction and Rehabilitation Studies at East Carolina University.