I wrote this email to my staff this morning and I thought it was worth sharing here. Every day I send my staff a YouTube Link to a song. Today's was suggested to me by our Director of Physical Plant and I had never heard it before. But I have listened to it several times this morning and it inspired the email, which inspired this blog post.
Grace is something that I didn’t really understand until I was in my 40s. Until then I had been about as perfect as a person can be. I had learned at an early age that it was really important for us to strive for holiness. While I knew that there wasn’t anything that I could do that would make God love me less, I had this strong feeling that I could do plenty that would get him to love me more. And that is what I was going for. And since I rarely did anything wrong, I figured God could save His Grace for the really bad people.
In the midst of all of this I was not a gracious person. I was very judgmental and had lots of conversations with people about what the Bible said about what they should or shouldn’t do. I was pretty condescending and arrogant.
In my 40s through a series of events I screwed up and I needed grace… big time. I needed it from other people and I needed it from God desperately. When I received it, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the power of grace. It transformed my life. And as I understood how much I needed the grace of others and of God, I recognized that I needed to offer that grace to others as well.
The last chapter of my book, “A Glimpse of God’s Heart: How Trying to Change My Kids Changed Me” is entitled “Grace Leads to Grace.” When we truly understand how much grace God offers to us, we can’t help but extend that grace to others.
These have been challenging days at PHFS. I have asked you to do difficult things. I have asked you to forgive and extend grace. Not just during one week, but every day. And this is hard work.
But as we extend that grace and offer forgiveness to those around us — especially the ones who deserve it the least — God transforms us. This is the crux of the gospel. We are the recipients of grace and thus we are givers of grace.
There will be tough days ahead. It’s inevitable. But as we move forward, receiving and offering grace, we will indeed beat the system.
There’s nothing greater than grace.