Become a Grace-Giver Not Just a Grace-Getter

Originally published Friday, 20 March 2015.

Recently, a friend, did something that completely offended me.
Her sin was so apparent.

What offended me even more was how she seemed to embrace it and promote it.

I took it personally. I started critiquing her in my mind, putting her down in my head and getting annoyed with her in my heart.

You can't do that and call yourself a Christian.
You can't defend that and feel good about yourself.
You can't speak this way and lead others down the same wrong roads.

But as the Lord yielded his sword of truth, I realized that I needed to yield to him.  "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Mt. 7:2)

How often do I sit on the judgement seat,
when the judgement seat is only reserved for One?

How often do I expect a grace-filled responses,
when I hand out condemning ones?

How often am I the master critiquer
instead of the master unduer of another's underlying shame?

In a way, we want God's grace, but we want it all for us.

We want to have it but can't seem to extend it,
we walk by it, but can walk others to it.
not when it affects us
not when it hurts
not when others offend
then we don't have anything left to give.

It's almost like we are a toddler demanding it all for ourselves. We forgot how to share. We forgot that God didn't extend grace so we could say, "Mine. Mine. Mine."

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

Aren't we really the same as the one we blame?

Truth is,
we offended,
we rejected,
we tormented,
we shamed,
we nailed,
every nail
on that cross
but somehow we expect it all in return
for the price paid at the cross
and sometimes we forget others do too, 
don't we?

We cling to every morsel of his forgiveness and our unmerited worthiness, yet we keep others tied down in the place of unworthy and unforgiven.

We "can't believe what they did", but we know "Jesus doesn't condemn what we did."

We say,
"Speak meanly  - you better say you are sorry."
"Hurt me - you will pay"
"Do something wrong - figure it out on your own."
"Really offend me - you won't be my friend anymore."

How often do we think of the act of extending grace verses obtaining it?
How often do we center our heart around giving verses the taking?

God's heart is always found in giving.
Giving a life.
Giving love.
Pouring out grace.

It is here where we find true authentic heart felt love. It is here where lives are changed, where people are moved and where walls come down.

It's not in the empty demands for love and for change. There, the life of grace loses it's power.

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. (2 Cor. 4:15)

Extending grace, makes the glory of God overflow. I want that to happen, don't you? I want to celebrate thankfulness with another as we see the power of grace flow through, don't you?

Are we seeking to be a grace-getter or a grace-giver? 
Do we sit on the judgment seat with Jesus or do you aim to sit on the mercy seat with him?

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Luke 6:38)

The more we give, the more we get.

And, I wonder, would we better comprehend the grace of God,
if we weren't always trying to extend the wrath of God.

Perhaps, then, we would receive it because we believe it.

God is the greatest giver. He stands ready to dump blessing after blessing, mercy after mercy, and love after love in our lap, if I will only let him. The more we measure out - the more he measures in. Let's give in abundance, from the free-flowing love that is always being poured into us by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

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