Grow In Grace
I found myself hurt and disappointed in someone by what they didn't do. When I began praying about this situation, God showed me that my expectations were just that - my expectations of what they should do. I believe they will have their own regrets one day but I have no control over them or anyone else so I could only handle my reactions. Ephesians 2: 8-9, "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." I need to grow in grace! I need to give grace because I need so much grace!
I had to set that person free from living up to my standards. Once I released them from my standards I was set free from this burden, anger and resentment. I think when we have to extend grace we experience gratitude for the grace we receive - every day, every hour and every minute some time! This gratitude will give us joy.
We have choices to make. We can be angry or resent people - as the saying goes, "be better not bitter." The only way not to be bitter, angry or resent someone for "wronging" us is to extend grace. That will help us move forward. And what would Jesus do? John 13: 34-35, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." As soon as I extended grace, that bitterness and resentment was gone. Instead of anger, I feel sorrow for that person and the consequence they will face one day.
In Matthew 18: 21-35, there is a parable about a servant who is forgiven of a huge debt owed to the king. Rather than take the grace he was shown and offer it to others, the servant tried to choke a fellow servant until he paid his debt. When the king learned of the servant's lack of grace, the king threw him into prison until he paid off what he owed. In verse 35 Jesus said, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” We are told again in Colossians 3: 13, "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
We are all called to extend grace to others because grace has been extended to us. It does not matter who they are or what they have done - that is hard. Again, it does not matter who they are or what they have done! If grace was based on merit, it would not be grace. In the dictionary, grace is defined as "courteous goodwill". The Christian definition of grace is "the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not necessarily because of anything we have done to earn it." There is no debt that anyone will ever owe us that compares to the debt of sin forgiven by Jesus dying on the cross!! There is no wrong that anyone will ever be done to us that compares to the amount of grace that Jesus has shown us! Thanks be to God!