“Saying grace” is not something we do to “keep God happy,” Lead Pastor Ben Snyder said last weekend. “That is the opposite of grace.” Instead, grace is the unconditional love and forgiveness God has given us through the sacrifice of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, so that we wouldn’t suffer the price owed for our sins. God has offered grace to all of mankind since the beginning of time. Unfortunately, it’s a gift most have rejected.
What is this grace Ben was talking about? It is the “undeserved/unearned favor of God.” So what does saying grace have to do with that? It’s a humble reminder to thank the one we owe for all that is good in our lives, in our day, and at our dinner table. It’s a reminder that we aren’t God, and we owe our lives to him.
Then again, have you ever felt you don’t need to be forgiven? That the issue was, or is, someone else’s fault. This is what the Bible says about that:
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
Last week, I needed a reminder of how much I need God’s grace every day. In confidence, I shared some information and fears I had about one family member with another family member. She immediately told the other person what I had said.
I felt betrayed, angry, and embarrassed. In my opinion, the person I told did a cruel and unhelpful thing without my explanation and without concern for anyone’s welfare. After all, I was going to discuss this issue with our family member, myself, the very next day.
Worst of all, I felt I had failed God … again. I felt like all my sacrifices, works, and good deeds were hollow and for nothing, because I had failed to keep my mouth shut and, consequently, had damaged or even broken our relationship.
Thanks to my participation in six, 26-week Step Studies through Celebrate Recovery over the last six years, I knew the first thing I needed to do was apologize. I needed to make amends to the person who was hurt by my words. So I sent her a heartfelt apology text and asked for permission to apologize in person. That was two weeks ago … still no response—but healing takes time.
I am sad, yet encouraged by this incident. Why? Because God has forgiven me and is still teaching me about my use of words to vent my fears. Still, it is so hard not to feel like I failed God and this sister. My prayer is that my family member will forgive me—for her sake as much as mine.
So when you have sinned against another—and failed to love and behave as God loves and behaves—ask God to forgive you and apologize to the person you have wronged. But—you must not have any expectations that the one you make amends to will forgive you on the spot, or at all. This is between the wronged person and God, as the Bible tells us: “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We apologize because God orders us to. We can only hope to gain forgiveness from the person we wronged.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
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.
If you have been sinned against, remember that we all need God’s grace, and consequently, none of us has a right to refuse to withhold the forgiveness that he so graciously and repeatedly gifts us with.
Why should I forgive someone who has wronged me? Why don’t I have a right to be furious and hold a grudge against the wrongdoer?
How does accepting God’s grace and passing it on to others affect me?
We all want to be forgiven when we mess up. It’s time to realize God calls us to do the same for others as he has done for you. If there is anyone you have wronged, make it right.
Do a Bible study on grace, and spend time each day confessing your sins with God and asking him for forgiveness.
Check out a Step Study through Celebrate Recovery.
21 Days of Prayer: Day 26
Dear God, today we pray to understand the next step you have for us. We want to be people who are always growing on the life-changing adventure—to know you, find freedom, discover purpose, and make a difference. Give us courage to keep growing, keep seeking, and be open to the ways you want to continue writing our life-changing adventure as part of your story. In Jesus’ name, amen.
21 Days of Prayer: Day 27
Heavenly Father, today we pray for our pastors. We thank you for them and their commitment to you and the church. We pray that you will bless them with vision, wisdom, and humility. Help them know and experience you today. Guide their steps as they lead the churches you have entrusted to them. Finally, we pray for their families. Protect them from evil and strengthen their relationships with each other and you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
21 Days of Prayer: Day 28
God, we worship you for who you are and praise you for all you have done. Let our praise and worship be an offering to you, showing the world how thankful we are for your love and grace. Thank you for gifting us with music that touches our hearts and helps us express our joy for who you are. Thank you, God, for giving us a way to ignite our passion for you each and every day. Amen.
This post was written by Martha Smith, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study. Martha describes herself as a lover of Christ who likes to share faith with others.
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