Yesterday at our church, Chris Jessee preached an inspiring message on a topic dear to our hearts in regards to marriage. He talked about our need to see grace in all of our relationships–those in the church, in our home and especially in our culture.
Sadly, there isn’t a lot of grace going around…
Churches split because of critical judgments and unmet expectations; families disintegrate over unforgiven offenses allowing bitterness to take up residence where love once dwelled; and our culture is confronted more often than not with a church that shakes a fist at their sin casting them to hell with their animosity.
It makes me hang my head in shame. Why? Because I too, have taken part in all three situations. I have looked at others in the church with critical thoughts. I have struggled in my heart to forgive my husband completely from the heart; and I have far-too-often been angry with our culture rather than loving them as Christ did with compassion.
Chris brought up another tendency we all deal with from time to time and that is our preferences. We take something that is a non-essential and make it essential in our eyes. A few examples:
- How our children date or if they date at all!
- Whether its permissible to drink alcohol in moderation or abstain all together.
- Voting Democratic, Republican, Independent or not voting at all.
- Relating to other races–making much of the differences or appreciating them for who they are.
- Those who are pierced, tattooed, or dress unlike me.
You get the idea. What ways have you allowed your preferences to rule and reign in your home? How have they caused you to look at your spouse with disdain when they aren’t met? Or when it doesn’t look like you wanted it to look?
I’m guilty of this very thing. I like my life and my home to go according to plan.
But you know what? God is more interested in helping me break free from this bondage and to embrace a freedom than only grace can provide. Imagine no longer caring if your spouse picks up their dirty laundry, offering instead to pick it up yourself, grateful to have a spouse who makes a mess? Or what if the next time your spouse fails to do something you asked them to do you meet them with compassion, instead of anger and condemnation?
Jesus had every right to get exasperated with His disciples. They continually missed the grace and compassion Jesus had for the crowds. But He not only had compassion on the crowds, but also on His disciples. He knew their sanctification would take a lifetime and so will ours. He is patient, and He is faithful to complete the work He’s begun in us. This is the very best of news!
Let’s pause on this Monday and ask God to show us the ways He wants us to SEE GRACE and EXTEND GRACE instead of commanding our preferences on those we are called to love.