“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 CSB
Grace is hard for me. I’m a truth person. I like black and white, not a huge fan of shades of gray. When you’re following Christ there are a lot of shades of gray. What are examples of shades of gray? For example, God absolutely does love everybody. He loves that person who annoys the heck out of you. He loves the people who you perceive have wronged you in some way. He loves democrats and republicans, and whatever political party there may be. And He expects you to love them too.
Those are shades of gray to me because I don’t understand sometimes how He can love them? Even more, how does He expect me to love them? Especially when they have hurt me deeply. Especially if I have legitimately been wronged. It happens to all of us. Someone, or even a group of people have hurt you deeply. They may not even know the extent to which you have been hurt. But you do. It’s a wound that keeps festering. Everytime you forgive, something pulls the scab off again, the hurt feels just as fresh as it did the first time. That’s when we need grace.
What is grace exactly? In this verse it means, “Favorable influence of God; divine influence or the influence of the spirit, in renewing the heart and restraining from sin” (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary). Here is the answer to grace, it comes from God, without Him you cannot extend grace to someone else. When you get into shades of gray, the answer is always grace, no matter what the situation. To get it, go to the One who gave it to you first.
I’m working through a situation in my life where I’m having a hard time extending grace. I was hurt very deeply. I’m having a hard time moving past it. I YEARN to move past it. I’m TIRED of hurting. Yet I feel stuck. Then just yesterday, as I talked about this with a trusted friend, she said these wise words to me. Someday, you will need the exact same grace you need to extend. If you want to receive grace, you need to extend grace now.
That was a gut punch. But I haven’t stopped thinking and praying about her words. Because she is right. I will need grace extended to me, probably sooner than I think. And I want people to give me grace, so I need to give grace now. I have a new motto written on a card above my desk to help me not forget this lesson: GRACE EXTENDED, GRACE RECEIVED.
God went first with me, I need to go first with others. Grace extended, grace received.