Grace: A Gift to Give

Photo by Mitchel Lensink on Unsplash

Photo by Mitchel Lensink on Unsplash

We Judge Others So Easily: Here's What You Can Do

by Eric Elkin

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God
— Eph 2:8

The professional golf career of Tiger Woods came to a screeching halt, literally, the morning of Saturday, November 28, 2009. At 2:30 am, Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant and then a tree as he pulled out of his driveway. Fortunately for Tiger, his wife at the time, Elin, was there to rescue him.

Up to that point, at least publicly, Tiger Woods had a clean reputation. He seemed to be such a stand-up guy and a fan favorite. His sexual transgression with a stripper, though, changed that image, his marriage and ultimately his golf game. Many people took delight in his demise. For them, Tiger got what he deserved.

Tiger Woods took personal responsibility. He acknowledged the great pain he caused his wife and children and the disappointment his actions had on his friends. No matter what Tiger said, most people found his televised apology lacked sincerity. Matter of fact, they said it was a well-written statement by his attorney designed to protect his image. Regardless, looking back now, one has to admit, Tiger paid the price for his transgression — financially, socially and professionally.

On Wednesday, a pastor in our Bible study group used a similar example in our discussion of grace. Despite preaching and believing that we are saved by grace, he balks every time a pastor admits to an affair and then says, “I know God forgives me.” I have to admit I am the same way. It can’t be that easy, and yet, it is.

Our desire for others to receive just punishment for their sins can have a boomerang effect on our souls. At some point, we may find ourselves in the same place. Then, when we most desire mercy, the only voices we can hear are the words we once shouted at other sinners. Words like “hypocrite,” “liar,” “scammer” and “he deserves worse,” drown out God speaking words of love, forgiveness, and grace. The truth is the one who is most unforgiving, judgmental and condemning of our lives is not God, but ourselves.

Grace is the most beautiful gift to receive and the most difficult gift to give. Despite what we may think, we can find as much freedom in granting grace as in receiving it. Those who intentionally practice grace-giving as a spiritual discipline understand what I mean.

Click to read: Ephesians 2: 1-10

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you feel when people caught in a lie say, “I know God forgives me”?
  • When do you find yourself wanting God to punish someone?
  • How does a desire for God to punish sinners shape your view of your neighbor and yourself?
  • What does a spiritual practice of grace look like to you?

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