Practicing Grace

By:  Staci Stallings

You know, it occurred to me the other day how important grace is between people.  I’m not sure where that concept came from exactly–as in what led me to be thinking about this.  But what I realized is this:  In this life, we all need grace.

Yes, we need forgiveness (do we ever!).  And yes, we need mercy (again, that’s a given).  But we also need grace… from God and from each other, and sometimes even from ourselves.

Now mercy is when you don’t get what you deserve, but grace is when you get something you don’t deserve.

The truth is, most of us don’t deserve a second chance.  We don’t deserve that margin to make mistakes, to be sorry about it, and to try again.  That’s grace.

I don’t know if you go to the library much.  We do during the summer because if I had to buy everything my daughters read, I would be in the poorhouse by now!  Well, the other day we made a library trip on Monday with my oldest daughter and my son.  Why I didn’t realize the middle one had books too, I don’t know, but I didn’t.  So we went, turned in some books, and renewed everything on both cards.

Done, right?

Not so fast.

That night I said something about having gone to the library, and my middle child freaked out!  Apparently, I was wrong… she did have books.  And they were due what was by then yesterday!

Fortunately we were going into town again the next day, so I told her we would take them in.  My son, the youngest, never having been exposed to anything more than his school library told me in grave tones that I was going to owe a fee to the library for having overdue books.

That’s when my middle child spoke up.  “No, she won’t.  The library gives you one day of grace.”

“Grace?  What’s that?”

“It means, they give you one day that you don’t owe anything even though the books are really already due.”

Hmm.

God’s grace means something very similar, doesn’t it?  It means we don’t owe anything even though we’ve already messed up.

But the story gets better.  The next day we took said “under grace” books back, and lo and behold, daughter had not checked them on her card.  She had checked them out on her brother’s card!  Not only were we within grace… that grace had been extended!

So, what do you need to give yourself a little grace about?  Where have you messed up (maybe even AGAIN)?  Where do you need God’s grace for your mistakes?

As importantly or maybe more importantly, where do you need God’s help to extend a little grace to someone who’s messed up?  Maybe they were honestly trying, but it didn’t turn out the way they had hoped.  Maybe they feel badly about how things turned out.  Maybe it’s time to start practicing a little grace.

If you don’t have any to give, just give them a little of the grace God has given you.  Trust me, you have plenty enough of that to spare… the card’s already been renewed!

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