|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Mighty Prevailing Prayer”
Our Bible verse for today: “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:32 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Grace is a beautiful thing”
This morning I want to continue our thinking from the last two days regarding cutting people some slack and blessing them with acts of kindness and grace – rather than judging them for their faults. What did you think of the incident I told you about when Pastor Tony Campolo gave a birthday party for a prostitute in a diner at 3:30 in the morning? Personally, I love it!
When it comes to this issue of blessing people with acts of kindness and grace, one of the most helpful Bible studies I’ve ever participated in is Philip Yancey’s “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” Philip himself was raised in an environment of soul-crushing, unrelenting, and unforgiving Christian fundamentalism. His was a world of strict rules, sweeping judgmentalism, and little grace. But then, Philip discovered the life-giving freedom and the absolute beauty of grace, and he just had to tell others. So, he wrote a book to tell all about it.
The book is an insightful study about the power of grace as a means of getting people’s attention, blessing them through kindness and compassion, and then leading them to faith in Christ. This is especially effective when those acts of grace are carried out in unique and unexpected ways (like a birthday party for a prostitute).
Like Philip Yancey, at one point the Apostle Paul was also a ranting raving fundamentalist (a Jewish Pharisee). His world too was made up of relentless rules and regulations, with little room for kindness or compassion. But then he experienced the grace of Jesus Christ and from that point on he too needed to tell everyone about it. That’s what we’re reading in Ephesians 4:32. Paul was making the case for grace as a way of life.
We live in a world where grace and kindness are not the norm. War, anger, conflict, selfishness, judgmentalism – those are the things that are most common. Grace and kindness? Much less so. Which is why acts of grace, kindness, and compassion are so startling and so powerful.
As was noted in the two previous devotionals on this subject, the way we move our hearts in the direction of grace and kindness when it comes to dealing with people (especially difficult people), is by praying for them. And the more difficult they are, the more lost in their sins they are, the more we need to pray for them.
Grace is a beautiful thing. Let’s pray we will all show more of it.
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