What is Grace and what does it feel like? Have you ever wondered about Grace or even given it a second thought?? Scripture says it is by Grace that we are saved, but what does that really mean? It was nearly twenty years ago when the Lord began to help me understand and has not stopped increasing my understanding since then.
When looking the word up in the dictionary there are numerous meanings and the one the Lord drove home to me so long ago is this one; a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior. I was taking a friend home after we’d been in a long meeting together. It was raining and the roads were slick. I was coming down a hill too quickly and was pulled over by a cop. He was not happy with me when he got out of the car and came to my window. None of it sounds like a big deal, but the situation went from bad to worse, when I gave him my driver’s license only to discover it was expired because it was days after my birthday. Neither could I produce my proof of insurance when asked for it. I was insured but had no way to prove it to him in the moment and by this time he was even more unhappy with me. While he was not ugly in his tone and demeanor he was still very much an authority whose hands my fate rested in at that moment.
Because I had an expired driver’s license and no proof of insurance I was breaking the law. I never intended to break it, but by failing to do what was required I was guilty! In fact, it didn’t matter what my intent was, as that was unimportant at the moment. I have never been in trouble with the law, didn’t know much about it and all of a sudden I was actually faced with the possibility of going to jail. My offenses were worthy of jail for numerous traffic violations. He thought I was going to fast, my license was expired and I couldn’t prove I was insured. I was worried because I didn’t know what to do or what would happen after he made me aware of the fact that I could go to jail. However, it didn’t take long for him to make a decision as to what was going to happen. I agreed to take care of things right away and to slow down. He allowed my friend to drive since her license was not expired and shortly we were on our way home.
Wheewwww! We talked on the way of what had happened, what could have happened and how scary it could have been. But in the moment I actually had no idea of what would have really been ahead had I not been given Grace, which was a manifestation of unmerited favor by a superior. Even though I was guilty, he let me go and didn’t treat as I deserved to be treated. Ok, this sounds like no big deal …. right? In someways, that is true but at least I am without a record that isn’t counted against me.
As I spent the following days thinking about what did happen I learned the importance of giving Grace to others. This very experience is what helped me to forgive someone who had been a negative influence in my life for years. She was an authority in my life who had treated me unfairly. Regardless, of her intent she had done a lot of damage in my heart through the years. She would never see it or take responsibility for it, but that was not reason for me not to give her Grace. It wasn’t so much that she would go free, but I would be free because of my new perspective.
I wasn’t treated earlier the way I deserved and sent to jail as the law said I could and should have gone. I didn’t do anything to earn my way out of that. The fact that I was sorry, didn’t know or lied about either of those didn’t make any difference at the moment a decision was being made. I had no power in that decision as I was guilty! It’s outcome rested with another. If I was given grace, then I should be willing to give it as well.
Choosing to forgive my step-mother was one of the first times I learned how Grace and forgiveness go hand in hand. All I knew was I was given Grace, not knowing what that Grace cost nor what it would have been like without receiving it. I’ve given Grace and have forgiven my step-mother, though she may never know its cost. By receiving Grace and being forgiven I can offer those things to another who has need of them and in the process I am the one changed. It frees the other but in reality I become free as well. That is one of the things that makes Grace so amazing!
Have you received Grace and in turn offered it to another?