grace.

IMG_3799“But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8

I tripped on this verse a bit this morning.  You know how you can be reading along and then it’s like you hit a snag in the carpet and you can’t seem to get to the next verse.

“While we were still sinners…”  Wow. That’s convicting and humbling in the same instant.  Somehow years of religion and familiarity can lead me so far from the basics of faith.

I don’t know about you, but how often I need the reminder that salvation is a GIFT.  I haven’t earned a sliver of it through my good behavior.  Salvation is also free to the crack addict on the corner.  Jesus doesn’t discriminate.  He freely gives, dispute our behavior.

The second part to this is that reminder that I am to freely give, just as it’s been freely given to me.  And the conviction is not in the giving of material possessions for me, not the giving is done in deeper places that you may not be able to see.

I have to ask myself some hard questions.

First, am I freely giving my husband forgiveness when he asks?  Candidly, too often it takes me way longer than it should.

Am I freely giving the man on the corner holding that sign something as simple as eye contact and a smile?

Am I freely giving people in my life the benefit of the doubt?

Religion is about meeting requirements.

How often to I function in this as I interact with others?

Grace is about giving based on who we are not on what others have done.

Jesus was able to give the gift of salvation and abundant life because of what He possesses. It wasn’t and isn’t about our performance.  As hard as it is to wrap our minds around, it wasn’t about what we deserve.  (THANK GOD!)

Recently, we watched Les Misérables and I was struck by a scene.  After being released from years in prison for stealing bread for his young niece, a kind priest allows ex-con Jean Valjean to sleep in the convent.  In the middle of the night, Jean steals all their silver and makes a run for it.  The police catch him and return him to the priest asking what he would like done to the man.  The priest gathers the silver candlesticks from the table, and says you forget the best part.  He tells the police that he GAVE him all the silver.  From this moment on, Jean is a different man.  This is grace. This is what’s been done for us.

Today I pray that we would be vastly aware of what we have to give, and extravagantly generous to those around us.  For we never know when a simple act of grace will change the course of someones life.

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