May God be gracious to you

Ever since Philip Yancey wrote his book ‘What’s so amazing about grace I’ve been captivated by the idea of God’s grace towards us. This undeserved thing that God lavishes onto us. If I’m honest I don’t remember grace being spoken of in the church I grew up in. I’m pretty convinced it was just not part of our vocabulary there. So, when Yancey wrote so brilliantly on the subject it deeply impacted my heart.

And grace is not just an New Testament idea as some of us might have thought. It is here right in the middle of this ancient blessing from God. The word gracious is the Hebrew word ‘hanum’ which is the same word for grace that denotes God’s desire to forgive sin and to show favour to the undeserving. There it is, grace, not just something that arrives along with Jesus in the gospels.

God’s grace is His unmerited favour towards those who don’t deserve anything at all from here. We don’t deserve anything, yet God gives us everything. When we consider his loving and kindly dealings with us, how is it that we are not more gracious ourselves towards others? Sometimes we are filled with unkind thoughts, we speak unkind words and we give unkind looks and we engage in unkind actions.

We’ve been shown so much grace that it ought to spill over into our interactions with those we meet daily. I was reminded yesterday that at the end of the Lord’s prayer are these very sobering verses from Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you your heavenly Father will also forgive you but if you do not forgive others then your heavenly father will not forgive your sins.

Now I haven’t got time to go into this in detail but as the parable of the unforgiving servant shows us there is a severe warning to those who don’t show grace towards others and they as they have received grace themselves from God.

I would like to close by praying a simple prayer using Ephesians 4:32 onwards.

I pray that each one of us would be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. May each of us choose to live a life full of grace towards others as we thank God for his grace to us each day. Amen

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