Month: June 2011

Offering A Grace Card

Grace, true grace, is an amazing thing.   It sets aside justice, it offers mercy and then it goes even further.   Grace gives everyone what we don’t deserve!  It gives forgiveness for our sin and failures.   It’s something only God can do initially.  It typically is not in our nature to offer grace to those who deserve to be punished for their sin and failures.   We don’t even have such an idea in our imaginations, it’s just not in our nature to think that way.   But God has offered grace, shown us what it looks like in our own lives and invites us to imitate that as we relate to other people. 

I am a firm believer that I had no clue as to what grace was really about until I was about 35 years old.  I had been a believer since I was 10 years old and I never knew what grace was.  True…I had experienced it.  When God offered grace, He offered forgiveness for my sin and provided a way to salvation.  I experienced first hand what grace provides to a person.  However, I had no true understanding of what it was and what it really meant to me as a believer.   It took a major failure in my life before I really started to understand grace as it was imparted on me from a forgiving God.

I personally experienced the wrath from other believer’s who passed on judgement and criticism on me as a failed Christian.  Instead of offering love and forgiveness, I experienced the worst of what other Christian’s can do to another believer.   I was not looking for approval for my sin and failure, I was looking for the compassion of fellow believer’s that could help me heal and restore my relationship with my God.  Like a feeding frenzy, I was chewed up and discarded along the way by those who claimed to have accepted God’s grace but had no intention of passing on that same grace to another believer.   I am convinced that those that passed judgement on me and still do to this day, have no real understanding as to what ‘grace’ is.  Because if they did they would not have done what they did.

 I take no joy in the fact that some of those same people who passed on judgement towards me have had struggles and difficulty in their own life as time passed since my failure.  They have now walked the same path that I was on and I have even had many come to me and say that they now understand what I had gone through.  These people have a better understanding of what grace is all about.  My wish is that no one would have to experience what I went through, but I also know that for most of the believer’s I know have never truly experienced difficulty or failure in their life have never understood the importance of imparting grace on another believer.  They will be satisfied to take advantage of the forgiveness and mercy it provides to them without ever offering the same grace to others as it has been given to them by God.

For me, I cannot help but to live the rest of my life trying to pass out as many grace cards as I can.  What is a Grace Card?  A grace card is the love and understanding  given by me to any and all who have stumbled in their life.  Whether that be fellow believer’s or those who have not yet found Jesus Christ and His forgiveness by His death on the cross.  It is only God who can “forgive sin”, I cannot do that.   The judgement for their sin is not mine to make.  As a true believer, I can only love them and try to point them to Christ and do what I can do to get them start or renew their relationship with Jesus Christ.

 Grace…it’s at the very heart of the gospel.   You can’t earn it, you don’t deserve it, you will never be good enough for it and yet God gives you all you need and more to live this life.   And then, beyond that He calls us sons and daughters and invites us to pass on this same compassion to others.   How could something like this be possible?   There’s nothing I can do to earn it?   I can’t be good enough to get it?   And yet He offers it freely? And we as believer’s are to pass it on…just as He does.

Yes, that’s grace.   That’s why the message of Christianity is so different from any other.   As I write this tonight, I am reminded of the people in my life that I need to give grace to.   I’m thinking that I need to impart grace on those that have wronged me and I need to forgive those that have caused me harm.   And so I’m trying to navigate grace extended to those who don’t deserve it.   It’s not natural, but it’s what God has done for me, how could I do any less for them?

Leaving A Legacy

In a few short weeks I am going to be grandpa.   There is a big part of me that is so ready to move on into that stage of my life.   I look forward to working on being a better example to my grandson and future grandchildren than I have been to my children.

In my opinion, the most important thing I can do is pass on to the next generation is what God has done for me.   My legacy is not the failure in my past, how much money I made or anything like that.  It is the stories about what God has done in my life is most important.

I often ask those who are older than I am to tell me their stories. The stories of God’s touch in their lives are my favorite.   Then I ask, “have you told your stories to your kids, your grand kids?” Sadly, the answer is often “no.”   I so wish that somehow they could write them down, talk about and share what God has done in their lives with those who they love.   It’s the stories of what God has done for us that will leave memories for those who are our mission field….our children and grandchildren.

Have you told your grandchildren your stories?   Have you written them down? Let me encourage you to do two things today,  1. Read Psalms 78.  It’s the invitation to tell the coming generation about God’s work in our lives, and 2. write down and tell your story to your children, your grandchildren.

It’s your stories that will touch their lives. 

Do it before it is too late.