We are perpetually in need of grace. All the time and in every way. Our need isn’t just extensive, it’s pervasive. We have need in every area of life because every area is marked by sin. Most Christians acknowledge this, ascent to it. But somehow, some way we still think we’re good. Or at least we think we’re good in certain parts of life. If not “good” we are perfectly willing to think of ourselves as better than others.
In a certain ironic twist, one of the greatest indications of our need of grace is our perpetual self-justification. Our own claim to not need it in certain areas shows how much we do. We put ourselves up and others down. We are willing to dole out some grace here and there, but really only in areas we have knowingly received it in. That’s about the only way we ever show grace – the way we perceive ourselves to have received it.
But most of the time our perception of grace is segmented to a single area of life where God has done a noticeable work. In that area we are generous with grace. In all the other areas we are put ourselves above others.
I am lustful; you are mean. I judge you for being a jerk.
I am cynical; you are arrogant. I judge you for being a snob.
I am dishonest; you play favorites. I judge you for being cliquish.
I am lazy; you are a workaholic. I judge you for being absent from your family
When we give grace to those who struggle with what we have overcome, we are giving from an abundance. We have received much and are passing it along.
When we refuse to give grace to those who struggle in areas we cannot relate to we fail to recognize the real abundance. We look at them and say “I would never . . .” or “How could they . . .” and miss the fact that it is only grace that kept us from being the exact same as they. The call to do unto others as you would have them do unto you is a call to show them the grace you show yourself.
You over look your own sins and weaknesses, knowing you need grace. Do they not need the same? You think of yourself as good in so many areas and look for weaknesses in others. But where are their strengths, those areas in which they think of themselves as good? Can you see those in spite of, or instead of, their failures?
To whom much has been given, much will be expected. You and I, we have received much grace. More even than we recognize. And we can not be stingy with our sharing of it.