“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4
“Jonathan, you have grace for everyone else in your life. You need to have grace with your family, too.”
I didn’t want to admit it, but my wife spoke the truth. I hadn’t been the most gracious husband or father recently. She wasn’t trying to hurt me, yet what she said was like a precise cut from a surgeon’s scalpel. And although painful to hear, I knew her words could ultimately bring healing.
That is… if I allowed them.
For healing to happen, I’d have to face the fact that there’s often a disconnect between what I believe and how I behave.
You see, I believe very deeply in the grace of God. Grace, the undeserved favor of God through Jesus Christ, has “made me alive” and fundamentally changed who I am (Ephesians 2:4).
Often referred to as the ‘heart of the gospel,’ Ephesians 2:1-8 beautifully describes the grace that is the foundation of my life. I cherish this passage, and others like it, as precious reminders of the grace-filled air I breathe as a born-again child of God.
So, as someone who believes in grace with every fiber of my being, why do I often struggle to behave graciously?
To ask it another way: as a recipient of such a life-changing grace, shouldn’t I freely give grace to others every chance I get?
Here’s the truth: what I believe should directly impact how I behave. In other words, the ‘dots’ should connect. But obviously, they don’t always…connect.
The doctrine of saving grace is not only meant to be believed but lived out every moment of the day. Grace should influence my every action and attitude, infusing all of life with an “aroma of grace” (2nd Corinthians 2:15-17).
I’m called to embody grace, not in some theoretical world, but in the real world, filled with real-life situations and relationships.
And yes, this includes my family…especially so.
One day, my wife and kids will reflect on my legacy as a husband and father. Do I really want them to think of me as someone who read about grace, wrote about grace, sang about grace, but wasn’t very gracious in everyday life?
Lord Jesus, may it never be!
I’m not sure how this message resonates with you, but I’ll bet you somehow share my struggle to demonstrate grace on a daily basis.
What’s more, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This annual gathering brings together family and friends with various personalities around a common table. Mix in everyone’s moral, political, and religious views, and you have the recipe for a potentially exciting afternoon!
(Heads up! You might have a chance to display grace to someone this Thanksgiving.)
If the opportunity indeed arises…take a deep breath, remember the grace that has saved you, and allow your belief in grace to influence your behavior at the moment. Ask the Lord for the strength to treat the person with kindness, even when they don’t deserve it.
You’ll be glad you did…and your family will, too.
Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH