Receiving the gift of grace-bought salvation is a one-time and for-all-time occurance. But sacrificially giving grace — stepping beyond the parameters of human ability and freely forgiving because you have been freely forgiven — that is a life-long journey.
High school was a tough time for me. Years of bitterness, insecurity, and grief became an angry fist that I shook at the world. I was hurt — by the father who left our family, by the friends who weren’t there when I needed them most, by the God who allowed it all. The longer my pain weighed down my restless soul, the more it overtook my every thought.
“I cannot forgive them for that. I will never forgive them for what they’ve done to me.”
The defensive walls around my heart — erected from a place of heartbreak and unforgiveness — imprisoned me and prevented healing of any kind. The things I held on to for my own protection were the very things that were attacking me at my core. Praise God for His redeeming power!
Forgiveness, unlike salvation, is not a one-time occurence. Just like we must seek forgiveness from the Father as regularly as we sin, we must also give grace to others by forgiving them as often and repeatedly as we are offended. However, unless you are blessed with the supernatural ability to forgive, showering others with undeserved grace is not easy. It takes hard work and, ultimately, complete surrender to God for us to understand the true nature of grace in a way that allows us to give it to others.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—” Ephesians 2:8
Spiritual grace is defined as free and unmerited favor with God. This is what we receive when we accept salvation. We did not deserve the salvation that cost Jesus His life and we can’t possibly earn the forgiveness gifted to us by His sacrifice. Our inheritance of grace as children of God is an unexplainable gift that we desperately needed, though we could not attain on our own. But, because we have been freely given this costly gift, we have the great responsibility of freely showing grace to others.
Some of us — most, if we are honest — have a preconceived notion that there are people in this world more deserving or more in need of grace and salvation than others. This is simply not true. Because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), the proportion of grace that God gives each of us is the same: sufficient. A serial murderer and a repetitive gossip receive the same grace when they bow at the feet of Jesus and take on His power which is made perfect in our weakness! We are not getting less grace than anyone else, and no one needs any more grace than what has already been extended to us.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 1 Corinthians 12:9 NLT
Billy Graham once said, “The ground is level at the foot of the cross.” I love that! How humbling it is to know that my sin was just as deadly to Jesus as every other sinner’s sin. Because we are ALL sinners, we are all ONLY saved by grace. When we realize how much our salvation was worth to Christ, and we come to a full understanding of our part in His death, then we can begin to extend life-giving grace to others because we know that no matter how little they deserve it, we didn’t deserve it either.
While that statement does not take away the hurt we feel, withholding grace from others will never heal our hearts of pain. God is our great Healer. He alone can and will heal and redeem the heartache in our lives, but we have to surrender those painful places to Him so that He can begin His healing work.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13 NLT
Though I am still on my grace-giving journey, I’ve learned that the gift of grace is not a gift of division, but of multiplication. The more grace we give to others, the bigger it becomes, and the closer we come to comprehending the blood-bought grace displayed for us on the cross. Once we are aware of the grace covering our lives, we can propagate it’s growth in others by sharing undeserved grace with everyone we encounter — effectively living as grace-giving examples of Christ to the lost and dying world.
Elle was raised in Mobile, Alabama, where she met and married her husband, Hayden. Since becoming a full-time mom to their little boy, Ethan, God has grown in her a burden for women, especially moms. Elle loves using her spiritual gifts to encourage other women, particularly in a spiritual setting.