So the title of this is the practicality and the reality of grace. Sounds so beautiful and academic, huh?
But let’s get one very important thing clear about grace. It is anything BUT practical.
But the reality is... we need it desperately.
These past couple weeks, I think my family has gotten cabin fever or lost their minds. It’s a toss up between the two. We are all homebodies, so we haven’t been at each other’s throats too badly because we all generally enjoy each other. Squabbles are the norm... but nothing that a good time out and reflection won’t fix. Up until a few weeks ago.
The bickering has gotten pretty intense. My older two were fighting the other day about who got to take a shower first. I guess not a bad problem? However, when it involved slapping and name-calling, that’s taking it toooooo far. Cleanliness is not THAT close to Godliness.
The acting out has been taken to STRANGE levels. My littlest was angry because I gave him the macaroni and cheese that he WANTED for breakfast, so he emptied out his entire dresser and blockaded the door to his room.
My kids have taken the #cantstopwontstop attitude to try to one-up and win an argument as meaningless and inane it might be. Topic of anger last night? The fact that one child had the AUDACITY to prepare the other a bowl of cookies and cream ice cream instead of vanilla with the magic shell. The screams were at a FEVER PITCH.
The words that are being spoken are, as one of my children told me, “the truth, and the Bible says not to lie,” but contain barbs of poison, bitterness, and hurt. And the words offered in return are equally if not more hurtful than the ones before.
Reality is that we are angry with each other. We are unsettled. We are uncertain. We are in this weird limbo state of unknown...and we feel it heavily.
Reality is that we are looking at someone and something to blame for the root cause of our soul unrest, so we take it out on those we love most, causing more damage, hurt, and brokenness.
This is where the most impractical thing of all steps in and changes everything.
Grace- defined as the “free and unmerited favor of God” or “a special favor” or “the condition or fact of being favored by someone.” Grace is favor that is not deserved. If we are Christians, we know that we did and do not deserve God’s grace for our salvation, but He gives us this favor anyway. We walk and live every day in the reality of grace...not just for our salvation, but for our sanctification. We are made more into His likeness because of Him. The grace we are shown and experience daily, we have to live in the reality that we do not deserve it. Because of that fact, we must extend grace to others.
But anyone who has ever worked with...well, anyone...knows that grace is not a hot commodity. This goes for adults and children alike.
We want the last word. Grace says to speak life and love.
We want to act out when we don’t get what we want. Grace reminds us that we have more than what we deserve.
We feel that we are misunderstood and that our intentions are not perceived. Grace knows that this is truth, and we can rest in our Savior.
We want to use words and actions that will finally get someone to understand how much they have hurt us. Grace says to forgive and build up instead of tear down.
Grace seems impractical and impossible. And in our human wisdom and strength it ABSOLUTELY is. Our humanity rears its ugly head on the daily and it is not what others deserve.
Let us be reminded that we don’t deserve it either. No matter how right we think we are. But it was given to us anyway.
So, in our homes, what does grace look like? Grace is a continual conversation in the home. (I highly recommend the book “Give Them Grace” by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson for a more thorough deep dive of what grace looks like lived out) It looks something like this...
Yes, they treated us bad, but we give them grace.
Yes, they shouldn’t have said/done that, but we give them grace.
Yes, I know they know better, but we give them grace.
Yes, I know you don’t want to give them grace. So let’s ask God to help us have grace for others.
In order to extend life-giving grace, we practically cannot do it on our own. We need the ultimate grace-giver to help us. There are not five fast tips to be more graceful. There are no strategies to show grace to others. Grace comes from a heart that has truly experienced and received grace. Grace flows from the reality of a GOD who truly loves us and gives us abundantly what we don’t deserve. That reality flows naturally and beautifully to others... even ones who annoy us, hurt us, and give us cookies-n-cream instead of vanilla.
Let’s ask God to fill our homes with grace today.