Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Give More 4 (Luke 6:37-38)

Luke 6:37-38

How much better off would most of us be if we gave and received more grace? Judgement and condemnation don't lead to good feelings and miraculous change or improved disposition. They lead to shame, guilt, feelings of unworthiness and usually an increase in the behaviors that caused the condemnation and judgement in the first place.

This is a very difficult cycle for us to stop because it is in our nature to condemn and judge. Think of how often little children tattle on one another. We naturally tend to give bad behavior much more attention than good behavior.

If you look at how Jesus handled misbehavior (sin) in the Gospels it should come as no surprise that his response was in direct contrast to how the people around him responded. With the woman caught in adultery, Jesus didn't pick up a stone even though stoning was the penalty for her crime under the Law. Rather he helped the angry mob to realize that all of them were guilty of sin and deserving of punishment. At this realization, the mob disbursed. Then Jesus told the woman that he did not condemn her but that she should go and change the direction of her life. He offered her grace and an opportunity to make better choices.

When we sin, make bad decisions, and hurt others we already feel bad. To have others compound those feelings isn't helpful. It also isn't helpful to pretend that the bad choices were not made. Simply acknowledging that the error is there and giving an opportunity for grace is a much better way to deal with each other's sin than emphasizing how bad the other person is for whatever action they did or didn't do.

This week try giving more grace - to yourself as well as to everyone around you whether you know and love them, dislike them, or know them not at all. See if it doesn't change your small corner of the world in a radical way.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the grace you give us. Thank you for the coming of Jesus that gives us freedom from condemnation. Help us to follow His example and give grace rather than judgement. Amen.