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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Grace Makes the Difference



Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

—1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)



What kind of love do I give? Or is my life all about me and what I want? Jesus said to love my enemies and do good to those who hate me, blessing those who curse me and praying for those who hurt me. If someone slaps me, I should offer him the other cheek. When someone demands something from me, I give it to him. Give to those who ask for help. If someone takes something from me, I don't try to get it back. Do to others as I would like them to do to me. (Luke 6:27-30, NLT). 


The world has become highly polarized into opposing political parties—opposing views—opposing races. And what can make a difference? The grace of Jesus Christ flowing in my life—given away as Jesus gave it to me. Christ died for every life, whether that person believed in Him or not. He gave His life for all humanity. Jesus held me in the highest regard, so why can’t I do the same for those who oppose me? The world opposed Jesus, but He loved us anyway. The “me” mentality of “what about what I need” pushes people away. And if I think that only others are guilty of this, then I should look at myself. Jesus humbled himself to die for me. Can't I humble myself and lay down my “needs” for someone else?


Paul said that love is kind. It is not boastful or jealous or proud. Am I boastful and jealous and proud like a Pharisee? If so, I don’t love with His grace. The love of Jesus never demands its way. It doesn't keep a record of those who have caused pain or been unfair. Jesus never demanded anything for himself but, instead, gave His life. Do I keep an account of those who have said things that hurt or slighted me? Christ’s love never rejoices about injustice but always rejoices when truth wins. The justice Jesus offers is full of forgiveness and grace. Do I extend the gift of His mercy? The love of Jesus never gives up. It always has faith to believe in what is not seen or heard. Looking beyond the selfishness of the human heart, this kind of love is hopeful and perseveres through any circumstance. 


If Christ's unconditional love is not alive in me, I have nothing to offer but my selfishness. Who bridges the polarized oppositions in this world? Who steps out in faith and loves the unlovely?  Jesus does when He is alive in me. I don't want to be one screaming my opinion or pushing my agenda. Jesus had no plan but to give His life. He had no opinion but Truth, but did He demand that others believe it? No, He died so they could.


Our world is starving for the grace of Jesus, but it doesn’t realize it. When I allow the “me mentality” of “what I want and what I know is right” is be crucified with Him, I can share His grace that keeps no records. Only then He can use me to make a difference.


©2020 Lynn Lacher


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