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Disarmed By Grace!

Blog – 6-25-20

The world is in need of a whole lot of grace right now! Tempers are short. Anxiety is high. And we all need to be kind to one another. We are truly living in extraordinary times with the pandemic and the toll that has taken on our mental well-being. We feel isolated and alone, and even if we are venturing out, in the back of our minds we wonder if we are safe. And now social unrest is reaching a new high. It can feel overwhelming. I believe it’s more important now than ever to treat ourselves and others with loads and loads of grace. I mean truckloads of grace! Grace is that beautiful gift of love and mercy from God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done. Grace…..free, unexpected, undeserved. As believers, we are called to share that grace we have received with others. Paul wrote about it in his letter to the Ephesians: “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:1-2 (NLT) Paul pleaded with the church to be the church, to live out the grace, love and mercy they had been given. He begged them, and now us, to live out our calling to love. I think of the old song, “They will know we are Christians by our love!” This can be a tough order right now, but I believe we absolutely must put grace in motion. Grace makes allowances for each other’s faults. Grace is humble and gentle. Grace is patient and kind. Imagine free, unexpected, undeserved love and mercy flowing out of us right now. Hatred being neutralized by love. Tension defused by mercy. Anger replaced by compassion. Have you ever gone into a situation “loaded for bear,” your feelings are hurt and you’ve already won the argument in your head before you’ve even begun? You’re ready with all the reasons and the justification for what has transpired. And then, instead of getting a fight in return, you are greeted with forgiveness and grace. It’s disarming, isn’t it. Now imagine the world being disarmed by that same kind of grace. Instead of approaching life with an “us vs. them” mentality, grace demands that we change our approach to “we.” We ARE all in this together. God loves all of us, regardless of the color of our skin or our social standing or whether we deserve it. If we want to win others over for Christ and start diffusing the tension we are all feeling, the best weapons we can wield are grace, love, and mercy. This chapter in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians ends with this powerful call to action: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT) Let’s be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to our neighbors, our children, our co-workers, people on the other side of the political aisle, our friends on social media. Our natural response is to meet wrong with another wrong, but what if we could turn that on its head and offer love instead? Let’s choose today to disarm the people we encounter with grace! Hugs and love, Jill

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