Yesterday I wrote about being full of grace but somehow, in less then 24 hours, I needed to be reminded of my aspiration to be grace filled.
My morning began grace-less when my husband accidentally hit the snooze button instead of the off button before he jumped into the shower. While he was in the shower the alarm went off, I awoke in a panic thinking that I needed to hurry to get ready for work. Somehow in my sleep daze I realized that it was Saturday. No work. A day to sleep a little longer. Oh how I love Saturday mornings. However I couldn't fall back to sleep and as I lay in bed I became bitter. My whole plan of sleeping in was ruined. (I realize that this may sound a bit dramatic but isn't it often the little things that fuel the feelings of grievance?). Then God changed my heart. It went a little like this:
Thank you, Lord, for humbling me as you remind me that my words need to be backed with action.
The definition of the grace, this grace that I want to be so filled with, is kind, forgiving, merciful, and lenient. This grace that has been given to me by Savior was not given as a reward, a payment for jobs well done. This grace was given freely, a gift. Grace is given even when it is undeserved. This same grace that was given so freely to me needs to be freely given by me to others.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
While my anger begin to build God whispered in my ear, "Grace. Give grace."
But I wanted to be angry so I replied, "But a great injustice has been done! This is my morning to sleep (oh, how I love sleep)!"
Ever so gently He replied, "But it isn't about you. Give grace."
It isn't about me.
"Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Still wanting to be angry, I argued, "But, God, what about the young man helping me in the electronics department last night who spoke to me like a child? I'm twice his age!" (as if last night's grievances had anything to do with my earlier-than-necessary-awakening)
"Give him grace, my child. Remember it's not about you."
"When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!'”
I was beginning to soften as I thought of one other that had offended me yesterday so I quietly asked, "But, God, what about the cashier who grumbled about her long day and continuously used your name in vain?"
"Dear child, it's not about you. Give her grace."
And in the early morning hours, before I desired to be awake, I extended my hand to each person that in my mind had somehow, in very little ways, offended me and I gave them grace. Though I have little power, God gave me the strength and the wisdom, to give grace.
"But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
1 Peter 4:7-11