Thursday, November 5, 2020

Outstretched Hands of Grace

   By: Shari A. Miller

Giving grace can be very hard. Especially if you're extending it to someone who seems to repeat the same hurtful offense over and over again. Have you ever ran into situations like this?

Last year, during the holidays, someone individuals who are close to me really hurt my feelings. So much so that I felt like both Thanksgiving and Christmas were ruined because of their actions. Part of this was my own fault because I let it get to me, I let it fester and create discord. While still part of it rested on the shoulders of those who acted inappropriately. The situation was talked through, I apologized to them for any wrong doing that I may have played and thought that the situation was behind us. I thought I had done everything possible to make amends and make them feel welcome in our home.

Well, come to find out the situation was not behind us ....

Once again, the same thing has happened. The only thing is, this year, I'm choosing to respond in a different way. Instead of letting it get to me and saying something that I might regret, I'm choosing to put Christ first in the situation. First through prayer, then through reading His Word and lastly through choosing to give grace instead of anger.

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Ephesians 5:1-2

All throughout God's Word we find Him instructing us to love others and to act in the same manner that He would.

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
Ephesians 4:32

It doesn't say to act as Christ only if we feel like it. Or, to follow His walk only if we've never been wronged. No, this is an ongoing thing. It takes getting up ever morning, denying ourselves, and carrying the cross. 

It takes being imitators of Christ.

I love this quote that I found this past week, concerning this subject: 

"When I looked at the person who had offended me through the 'spiritual eye,' I saw in him one of God's instruments to teach me, instead of one of the devil's to torment me. I saw something more. I saw a person God loves, and whom He wants to love through me." - Author Unknown

Instead of acting out of selfishness, we need to offer outstretched hands of grace to one another.

We need to open wide the doors of our hearts and allow the offenders to walk through and see Christ love in every aspect of our lives. We need to be an instrument that God can use to help further His Kingdom.

"And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them."  Luke 6:31

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