There is no way to truly know how people perceive you, or what comes to mind when your name comes up. One can only hope. My hope is that the word ‘grace’ comes to mind when I am brought up in conversation – not because I consider myself to be the most gracious person in the world (I’m under construction) but because I have been so blown away by God’s grace in my life that it’s something I’m passionate about.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Eph 2:8-9).
God’s salvation, as an act of grace, leads to all other grace. The forgiveness of sin. The giving of gifts. The outpouring of His Spirit. All these are a result a grace. For those who have had an experience and an understanding of grace (sadly, I think the church still needs a supernatural revelation of the grace of God) it is easy to focus on God’s grace toward us, and forget our grace toward others.
This revelation (can I call it that?) came to me during a somewhat boring movie, “The Vow”. Part of the plot of the movie sees the father in the movie having had an affair with the friend of his daughter. In an emotional scene, the daughter confronts her mother and asks her why she stayed with him. Her response is what blew me away: “I chose to look at all the things he did right, rather than the one thing he did wrong. I chose to forgive”.
How often don’t I, as someone who has received God’s grace and a second chance in an incredible way in my life, quickly forget the thousands of “right things” the people in my life have done when they slip up and do something wrong? This is where the concept of “Intentional Grace” comes in. Forgiveness, grace, kindness, compassion – all those things have to be intentional. For grace to be all it can be, it cannot be an accident. We need to intentionally choose to be gracious when people let us down. We need to intentionally choose to focus on the many great things people have done rather than the isolated incidents of disappointment we experience.
I’m choosing to live a life of intentional grace – join me.