One of my favorite hymns is Amazing Grace. It was written by a slave trader, John Newton, who cried out to the Lord in a severe storm at sea and saw his life changed. He decided to become a minister and penned these beautiful words of redemption. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I'm found; was blind but now I see.
Grace - Generosity of spirit: a capacity to tolerate, accommodate, or forgive people
I stumbled upon this definition of grace recently and it struck a cord with me. Mostly because I have seen so many Christians are ungracious in their speech and attitudes. They tear apart others with their mouths. They criticize and critique and complain. And yes, I've been so guilty of this at times too.
And yet, my friends, this is unacceptable. How in the world can we profess Christ and accept His wonderful grace in our own lives and yet, never extend that grace to others? How can we say we love the Lord and at the same time rip apart another person's character with our mouths? As believers we are to extend grace to others.
James 3:9-12 (NIV) ~
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
God's grace is amazing and yet how amazing is it if we never show it to another? I don't want to praise God on Sunday and then pick apart people the rest of the week. And yet, I fail quite often. But the wonderful thing about God's mercies is that they are new every day. I may fail today, but God does forgive. And that is what the wonderful, freeing concept of grace is all about!
Let's live up to our name of Christ-follower. How do we do that? Extend grace to others. Overlook mistakes. Don't feel the need to point out every flaw that another has. Show love. Live out your salvation by showing that you are a changed person.
Work on changing you and let God worry about everyone else! Then we can truly say, "Amazing grace; how sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see."