Giving What We Don’t Deserve
When did we forget about grace?
Seriously. I want to know. At what point did we, the Body of Christ, forget about God’s amazing grace? Maybe the better question is, when did we decide to hoard it for ourselves?
Jesus told a parable about a man who owed a very large debt to the king. The king ordered that the man and his entire family and all their possessions be sold to pay the debt. At this, the man fell to his knees and pleaded with the king to be patient. So the king took pity on the man, and not only released him, but forgave his entire debt as well. The man, freed of his obligation to the king, immediately went to a man who owed him a small debt and took him by the throat and demanded payment. The man was unable to pay, and though he begged for patience, the first man had him arrested and jailed until he could pay in full. When the king heard this, he was furious and said to the man, “You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?” (Matt 18:32-33) Then he had the man thrown into prison until his debt was paid in full.
So often we demand our rights. We are quick to condemn one another for real or perceived slights. We use harsh words and spew bitterness from our mouths, all in the name of self-interest. I read Facebook posts and Tweets everyday that are filled with vitriolic condemnation of friends, family members, strangers, you name it. Most often they come from some of the youngest among us; those who haven’t learned the harsh lessons of life and don’t yet understand their own need for grace. Although frankly, I’m just as guilty of it as anyone else.
Here’s the thing that I (and everyone else) ought to remember: We don’t deserve to be forgiven. The weight of the wrong that we have done in our lives is far greater than that of the good we have done. And no amount of doing good things changes that. Yet God picks us up, and instead of tossing us as far away from His holiness as we can get, He invites us in to His family. He calls us sons and daughters and gives us a share in His inheritance.
Why then, do we refuse to do the same for others?
Listen to me well, particularly Youth of the Church. You have a wonderful opportunity to live lives of grace starting right now. Instead of feeling superior and believing that you know better than everyone else, walk humbly, extend mercy, live in grace.
“No, O people, the LORD has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
After telling how the king had the first man thrown into prison for his failure to extend the grace that he had received, Jesus closes his parable with this: “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters in your heart.” (Matt 18:35)
Yes, you’ve been wronged. People have treated you dishonestly. People have hurt you. Life is unfair. It’s all true, every last word. But God’s grace is greater than all of it, and it’s available to every single one of us, even those who have perpetrated evil against us. So live in His grace, and extend it to everyone, especially those who don’t deserve it.