Practicing Grace

In London in the 19th century, there were two pastors whose parishes were near each other. One of them ran an orphanage. The other one commented on how poor the condition of the children admitted to the orphanage was, but the word that got out was that he had commented on how poor the condition of the orphanage itself was. Well, the pastor at the orphanage considered this a slap on the cheek, so he blasted the other pastor in the next Sunday’s sermon. The paper picked up on this and ran the story and all the people went to the other pastor’s church to see what kind of rebuttal he was going to give.

Instead of defending himself in his sermon, he didn’t give a sermon at all. He only took an offering—for the orphanage the other pastor ran. The offering plates had to be emptied three times because of the overwhelming response.

Later that week there was a knock at on the door of the pastor who had taken the offering. It was the pastor of the orphanage. He said, “You know, you have practiced grace on me. You have given me not what I deserved; you have given me what I needed.”

Can we practice grace on each other? Not just on the people we like, but also on the people who annoy us? Can we show grace to someone who doesn’t deserve it, remembering that Christ has shown us grace when we don’t deserve it?

Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” Christ is asking us to stop blinding one another. He is telling us that it is better to be kind than to be right. He is telling us that we, too, do not get what we deserve, but we get what we need—which is Christ himself.

Being Human connection: Where will you find opportunities to practice grace this week?