In life, we will all have disagreements. If you are married, have a roommate, children, or simply are a human being, then you have disagreements. Even in the church, there can be disagreements. We are imperfect people, and we all have opinions. Yet, God extends His grace to us and He wants us to give that grace to others. How we handle disagreements is a mark of spiritual maturity. Our life purpose is to know Jesus and to make Him known, so let’s respond to others in love just as Christ Jesus loves us. Let’s be people of love and grace.
Life On Purpose: Grace
What Grace Really Means
The hymn Amazing Grace is one of the most well-known hymns worldwide. Whether someone grew up in the church or has never stepped in a church building in their lives, when they hear the words “I once was lost but now am found,” it’s likely that they can recite the lyrics that follow: “Was blind but now I see.”
However, when we really look at those lyrics, we can see something beautiful in them. We can see the goodness, the faithfulness, and the love of our Father that He would give us this sweet gift of grace.
Amazing grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
At one time, before we made the decision to follow Christ, we were dead in our sins and trespasses. We were headed to an eternity away from Jesus. But, it was the goodness of God’s grace that was revealed to us, and now we are saved. We are found. We can truly see.
Grace is often defined as “unmerited favor from God.” As we look at the lyrics of Amazing Grace and the definition of “grace,” the underlying truth here is that we do not deserve it nor can we do anything that will earn it. Apart from grace, we are lost wretches in desperate need of a kind Savior.
And that’s where Jesus comes in.
This life will not be perfect. Even those who follow Christ and are striving to live for him will face hardships, hurt, disagreements, and conflict. Everyone has opinions, and many times these opinions will be at odds with others in our lives. Just as God sent His son Jesus to save us from our sins and give us the free gift of grace, we are called to give that very same grace to the people that we encounter everyday.
Above all, Jesus loved people. He was beaten, cursed, and even crucified by people to whom He showed nothing but love. This, more than any dictionary definition, is a representation of what grace really means.
What the Bible Says about Grace
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” The Bible teaches us that it’s by grace alone that we are saved. Far too often, we tend to believe the lie that there are certain things that we have to do in order to be saved. We think that if we could only serve at the church more, spend more time sharing about our faith, or giving more of our resources, then we will be saved.
Throughout the New Testament, we find this truth about grace: Jesus’s death on the cross allowed us freedom from striving, earning, or atoning for our sins. Grace is free, and there is nothing that we can do to change this.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul is writing a letter to the church in Corinth, and he specifically emphasizes that God’s grace is actually shown in our weaknesses. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” His grace is enough to cover all of our poor choices and flaws, and it is through our very weakness that His power is revealed.
Grace As a Tool for Kingdom-Building
As we accept this free gift of grace, we also need to realize that it is our responsibility to both share of God's grace, as well as show that same grace to those in our lives. It can be difficult to show grace to those we disagree with or have a hard time getting along with, but in those moments, we are called to live like Jesus – to be His hands and feet – and show grace.
Ultimately, our purpose is to love Jesus and to share Him with others, and our actions, words, and treatment of others are perfect ways to represent Christ. Every disagreement and conflict hold the potential to point others to Jesus or away from Him, and we must make the choice to err on the side of grace.
Remember when you were lost and Jesus found you. Remember when you were blind and now you see the goodness of grace. Remember what Jesus did for you – and now show who Jesus is to others.