I have asked my dear friend, Jeanette to share some thoughts and her heart on the topic of grace. You will find Jeanette writes with a poetic and earnest heart. Her passion for truth and to live out her purpose that God has placed on her is nothing short of beautiful.
Grace. Mercy, clemency, pardon, favor… a reprieve. Leniency. Forgiveness.
This topic is used lightly but is heavy with the comfort, warmth, and tenderness of a down comforter on a cold winter’s day. Picture it… white, completely encompassing, rich comfort, warm, with a enrapturing effect of security. You don’t have to face the harsh, piercing sting of the crisp brittle bite of negative-degree, cold truth; that comforter is not “earned” it is a gift. However there is action to be taken to receive, cover, and share with others who are freezing.
Let’s be real. This world is harsh. It is facing realities of the unknown, and yet has dealt with brutal arrows of the past. We are far more broken, divided, and bitter as a culture than, well, I personally would say the late 60’s. How do we filter through it all if we can’t even see where the truth is in all the mess? How do we share the warmth of the Good News with others if we are caught ourselves in the bitter frigid cold of the World?
We remember who first Loved Us and gave us such a rich delicious gift. We receive it, unwrap it, and relish in its down comfy goodness! We cannot leave it there, though. We have to share it!
Let’s say you and another person are sitting outside watching a movie. The air is crisp, biting, and harsh. There is no shelter only a king size down comforter lying there within reach. What do you do? First, I imagine, you pull it around you to warm up, but would you leave the other person out in the harsh cold air to get hypothermia or frostbite? Not likely. That is what sharing the gift of grace is all about.
At the beginning I shared a passage of scripture out of Titus 3. I was pondering on it and the posture of the heart represented, one of respect, honor, granting grace, and thoughtful awareness with a simple reminder: we were once there in a place of broken, prideful, selfish choices and we were given the gift of grace. If you are in that struggle right now this is PERFECT because the gift of grace is for YOU… Right now! Right where you are. That’s the beauty of it. You can not fully give grace to others if you have not fully received, unwrapped, and embraced it yourself. Our messy humanity gets in the way.
Let’s look again at the top, right after the verse. The words following grace are definitions as well as synonyms. There are several definitions of grace for the intention of this post I focused on the following: Mercy, clemency, pardon, favor-a reprieve, leniency,and forgiveness. When we are given grace we are given mercy, a pardon, forgiveness. It wipes the slate clean and sets us free while surrounding us in the alluring comfort and security of the One who gave us that gift. When we share it with others we allow them that same opportunity.
I have a secret to share with you.
There is an extra gift received by you when you give grace, it's freedom. Grace is forgiveness. Forgiveness is being aware of the choices a person has made that separates that person from you in painful, selfish, and damaging ways. We choose to love them where they are, grant them a pardon for those choices, a reprieve, and a mercy to start a new day *. When you are forgiven, by the Lord, you are set free of your burden of a life lived in bondage, separation, and an ultimately painful eternity. He provides you a clean slate and new opportunities. When you give grace to others, especially those that maybe you would not be so sure to share a cozy, king size down comforter with [ie: enemies, exes, people that have done damage], you keep yourself free.
This freedom is a little different in terms of how it plays out in your life. When we hold back grace or only give it with expectation, you have simply chosen to put that down comforter next to you like a barrier or a wall. It is not protecting you, deflecting for you, or providing comfort. It is simply a new jail. It allows the cold to still hurt, create frigidness within you, and even more damaging: the cancerous slow death of “frostbite” that darkens and hardens the heart.
Take the gift. Wrap it around you. Wear it like a royal robe. Then, share it. Grace is a gift that allows you to carry yourself with alluring beauty that can never be taken away. Grace allows you to compassionately engage in the harsh world around you and to live your life into eternity in rich freedom.
Grace, it is the perfect way to start the year. I pray you take the gift, unwrap it, embrace it, and share it. Many blessings to you on this new year full of adventures and opportunities to receive and give grace.
*Sidenote: Abuse and neglect are never okay. You can forgive but you do not continue to be the subject of action that is physically and psychologically unhealthy. It is important for you and the other person to get help: professional counseling, rehab, etc.
Thank you to Jeanette Harris for sharing your heart on grace with the Codex Community. To read more of Jeanette's writings and following along on her faith journey, please visit: