Living out grace doesn’t come naturally. The days around Christmas and the beginning of 2020 have been very busy, and in the midst of it all there was an important lesson to be learned.
One morning I was reading Matthew 7:1-8 and the first part really grabbed my attention. It is the scripture that tells us not to judge because “in the same way you judge others you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” The Lord then spotlighted my judgmental attitudes and asked where my grace for others was? He began showing me how I act or react when the pressure is on.
Sometimes when we feel squeezed by the pressures of life, our reactions and responses aren’t so sweet. Living grace-paced isn’t only about walking in the relaxed, slow pace of Jesus. It is also about living out His grace to others in everyday life.
As we come to recognize His grace in our lives, we realize how wonderful it feels to be treated better than we deserve. But there is more to it than that, the Lord desires for us to live out that same grace to others.
Thinking about this helped me to recognize how impatient I am, how often I react judgmentally, or how frequently I criticize others when they don’t do something the way I think it should be done. The bottom line is I am realizing that the measure I use is not what I want measured to me. What about you?
God’s Word can help us see ourselves, and bring us to repentance and to choosing a better way. For me this meant taking an even greater inventory of my attitudes and actions, and considering how to flesh out ways to live out His grace. I needed some reminders in my life and I hope you will find them helpful also. I have found that asking myself whether I am acting graciously in specific ways is helpful also. By turning these reminders into (“am I…?”) questions they can become checkpoints in your interactions and relationships with others. Here are the reminders I came up with:
Guard my tongue. (This one was very obvious to me!) The hardest part of living out grace is remembering to keep a tight rein on my tongue. As I said I find myself being critical and judgmental much too often and the harsh words come out before I know it. So, I am making a conscious effort to not make sharp comments about little things and I am trying to be sarcastic less often. In what areas do you need to guard your tongue?
Remember the Lord’s forgiveness. The forgiveness we have received as believers is the greatest gift given and so undeserved. And we need to be sharing that forgiveness with others. It means forgiving that person for the offensive word spoken, the thoughtless mistake, or the unfortunate accident (like dropping your favorite ornament or dish)? It isn’t always easy, but remembering the cross helps.
Act as a “living sacrifice.” Being a living sacrifice is our “spiritual act of worship” according to Roman’s 12:2. We honor the Lord when we go the extra mile. Often giving of our time or other resources can be difficult because it seems as though there’s never enough. But what is the Holy Spirit prompting you to do? Will you make the sacrifice to do what He requests you to do? I know I need to get better at this!
Choose encouraging words. What can we say that would build up the other person? What words can we share that will bring encouragement to their hearts during this time? When I feel rushed, frustrated, or overwhelmed these kind of words don’t come easily. But I want my conversations to be filled with words that show love, mercy and grace. So I need to take extra effort to remember how much these words mean to me and then share them with others.
Extend God’s loving touch to those around you. At home it can be as easy as meeting one at the door with a hug, baking their favorite cookies, having the coffee ready when they get up, or putting a loving note in their lunch box. Maybe it means texting a friend on what you know will be a hard day. It’s those little extras that don’t take much effort but get lost in the busyness of life.
I know I need to begin living more graciously in my life. I, especially, need to be cognizant of this when I am feeling squeezed and under pressure because of the circumstances of life. How about you?
I am grateful for the passages in Matthew which convicted my heart and helped me realize that I need to live a grace-filled life. I am thankful that the Lord refreshes my soul with the Truths of His Word and leads me in paths of righteousness.
In the busyness of life it is easy to neglect living with grace, but He is always gracious in showing me the way. What ways of grace do you need to remember to practice?