I was having coffee with a friend the other day, and a thought occurred to me: without God’s grace, I am unable to show grace to others.
What I mean is that giving people second chances completely goes against my human nature. I am under the impression that extending grace is unwise – it just opens me up to the possibility that the offender might hurt me again. And that’s a pretty safe bet, given that none of my friends or family members are perfect.
But Jesus wants us to not only give second chances, but third and fourth and seventy seventh chances as well.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
But we are completely unable to muster up this kind of grace-giving ability ourselves. This type of forgiving spirit is supernatural. It is only when God graciously gives us the ability to show grace to others that we become genuine, Biblical forgivers.
And make no mistake about it – the ability to truly forgive is a gift. Just think about someone you know who lives a bitter existence. I am willing to bet it is because someone hurt them, and they are not willing to forgive the culprit. That’s where God steps in and gives them a gift that can remove all the bitterness that’s consuming them. He gives them the ability to extend grace.
It is then up to the offended to decide what to do with that gift. They can either accept it and pay grace forward, or they can refuse the gift and remain bitter and hurt.
What are you doing with the gift?