Grace isn’t, never has been, and never will be easy.
There is heartbreak that you couldn’t have anticipated. There is trauma that could have been prevented. There are ongoing circumstances that drain you of your means of living life as it hits you. Days have become one disappointment, one step at a time. Surely, I do not mean to make a far-reached claim such as everyone deserves a second chance. They don’t. Then again, none of us do. In a world without a gracious God, who’s to stop you from giving everyone who’s hurt you exactly what they deserve? Who’s to stop anyone else from giving you what you deserve? But, we are so fortunate to live under a grace that transcends any sort of eye-for-an-eye logic. Each and every one of us is unforgivable. But through our sinless Christ’s voluntary separation from God on behalf of our sin and also through his ascendance from death to defeat that sin, the unforgivable suddenly become forgiven.
During Jesus’ ministry on Earth, he traveled through Samaria on his way to Galilee. In his famous conversation with the Samaritan woman, recorded in the book of John, there lies a prominent message about grace and how we should respond towards others’ mistakes. On one layer, grace lies in the fact that Jesus, a Jew, was even interacting with her. Samaritans were biracial, descending from both Jew and Gentile, and condemned by both Jew and Gentile. They were not spoken to by the “pure” race, and certainly lacked respectability if they also happened to be a woman. This woman in particular also had a poor reputation. At the time of her conversation with Jesus, she was on her sixth round of living with a man outside of the covenant of marriage. Her race and sex had set her apart from the world, and her lifestyle had set her apart from those closest to her. But, Jesus had no concern with the world’s means of determining who deserves acceptance.
He didn’t submit to the fact that she’s simply an outcast or prompt her to feel shame. When he could have asked if she was ashamed of herself or planning on getting it together anytime soon, he called her to drink of his living water and never thirst again. He called her to leave her sin behind and step into the eternal life that he’s providing for her. He cut straight to the grace. Jesus doesn’t shame us for where we are. He calls us to where he wants us to be, and loves us immeasurably every step of the way. His love is not restricted to the new-and-improved version that we might become. If we are to live by Jesus’ example, then we are to extend the same kind of grace.
To the person on the street who is ridden with obvious outward sin, we extend grace. To the person that drives us crazy with their seemingly perfect life, we extend grace. To the person that always knows just the right things to say to get under our skin, we extend grace. To the person that has hurt us in deeper places than we ever knew existed, we extend grace. Grace is a continuous decision, a constant battle. But, the decision to extend grace is one of the many decisions that can set us free to live out of the fullness of Christ. We are called as the body of Christ to not even speak if our words do not build up and extend grace.
From Him to me to you,