Grace: This is the word that continues to ruminate in my thoughts these days. There are so many challenges in our world today. We continue to face struggles as well as blessings and how we treat each …
Grace: This is the word that continues to ruminate in my thoughts these days. There are so many challenges in our world today. We continue to face struggles as well as blessings and how we treat each other in the midst of either can bring joy or frustration to those around us.
It is all too easy to react in ways that hinder relationships. My thoughts get drawn to our current situation regarding the wearing or not wearing of masks. Regardless of which side of this contentious subject you’re on there is plenty of proof to back up your stance. The “facts” are so difficult to decipher.
There are many who are very good about wearing masks and others who are not so prone to wear them. And there are a myriad of reasons we make those decisions. This is just one example of a situation that can be contentious. It’s the easiest to draw out currently but not even close to the only prickly predicament in which we find ourselves on a regular basis.
I remember the good old days, where the most controversial conversation one might get caught up in might be whether you are a Chevy guy or a Ford guy. Or whether you like country and western music instead of rock-and roll. Ahh, the good old days.
So, in the midst of a contentious era, how might we treat each other to overcome disagreement and frustrations? Again, the word rattling around in my simple brain is grace.
What if we had grace for our fellow man? What if instead of choosing to offend or be offended by someone who feels differently about, say, politics, car brands or even masks, we would extend a little grace? What if we were to be OK with somebody feeling differently about ... (you fill in the blank).
The Bible speaks of grace on numerous occasions and in many ways. The most significant is the grace shown us by the act of Jesus leaving his rightful place in heaven and coming to live a human life in order to become the greatest sacrifice ever given. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”
When we were God’s enemies, separated from him by our sin, Jesus came and made a way for us to be right with him. It was an act of grace. It is not something we deserved or earned by what we did or do, it was a gift. It unified us who believe in this act with our holy and perfect creator. What an example of grace.
If God can have grace for us, can we not follow that example and have grace for each other? Some of the issues we face these days put us on opposing sides. It has gotten bad enough that in many cases we have become enemies of those who don’t think like we do.
So, what if in these contentious and difficult areas, we can have grace for each other? What if we could be OK with someone who doesn’t believe the way we do? What if we could disagree and yet be civil and even accepting of each other?
The only answer for us is grace. We must be able to overlook our differences and faults and show the type of love God showed for us, especially as we approach the Christmas season. The time of year when grace came in flesh to make a way to re-establish our relationship with our Lord.
The apostle Paul writes in Colossians 4:5-6, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Sounds like solid advice for a world torn by disagreement and controversy. May we develop a world where living in grace brings peace in a time of trouble.
(Jon Allen is the associate pastor at Grace Point in Powell.)