What comes to mind when you hear the word “grace”? I often hear things like living in grace, seeking grace, and showing grace, and I wonder if grace is just a word we use when we want to sound flowery and elegant, or if we really allow its meaning to take root in us and play out in our daily lives. Grace makes us think of elegance and refinement, of love, charm, and pretty things, but what does practical grace look like?
Grace: (n.) courteous goodwill, polite manner of behaving, unmerited favor, undeserved kindness
What paints a picture of this definition of grace?
Speaking words of love instead of hate in the heat of an argument shows grace.
Forgiveness that precedes an apology, or forgiveness despite the absence of an apology shows grace.
A smile, “please”, “thank you”, or even just a friendly “hello” to strangers.
Keeping calm when people are rude
Letting go of wrongs instead of looking for revenge
Being present in someone’s life during their time of need shows grace.
Giving up your time, energy, or resources to help someone else.
You know what else shows grace?
A man hanging on a cross and giving His life for people who hated him.
We have the gift of unlimited grace. The most holy, righteous, perfect, and awesome being in existence has extended limitless and abounding grace to the lowest of creatures in existence. Yet it’s often so difficult for we poor creatures to show grace to each other.
When grace flows through your actions:
You forgive without expecting an apology. Forgiveness derives from your relationship with God, not other people’s actions. We are to forgive all things in others because God forgave all the worst things in us. That doesn’t depend on whether or not the person is “sorry”. (Matthew 6:14-15)
You serve others without expecting anything in return. The foundation of grace is undeserved kindness- showing love or making sacrifices for someone who can do nothing for you. Your service is driven by your love for others and your love for God, not by your interest in how others can repay you. You attend to the needs of others because God has given you the ability and opportunity to do so. (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Kind words will flow out of you. A person who lives out their life in grace has no use for harsh or unkind words. There is no place for hateful language in forgiveness, kindness, love, or anything grace influences. (Proverbs 16:24)
Coming at this from a slightly different angle- there is a lot of hate, sadness, anger, and division in this world, and particularly in our country at this moment. What if we chose grace instead, and everything that encompasses it- love, forgiveness, respect, and understanding? What difference would we see?
I love the idea of grace. I love the way it sounds and all the implications of it- elegance, kindness, charm, beauty. But real grace is more than just an idea. It’s daily actions played out in your life and mine that guide others towards love and towards Jesus. There are so many different ways we can show grace to those around us. Grace influences us in so many aspects of our lives. Grace is a beautiful concept, and it’s even more beautiful when you live by it.