When I Was the Opposite of Grace, This Is What I Got In Return

As a Christian who believes the Spirit of the Lord lives within me, I’m blessed to have the inherent ability to allow God’s manifold grace to work through me. The catch being, I need to allow the grace to flow, which doesn’t always happen. Some days I can’t muster up any benevolence. Anyone with me?

Not to toss Adam and Eve under the party bus for the millionth time, but their little mishap of disobedience in the garden sorta dammed the free-flowing river of grace for the rest of us. When God asked Adam why he ate the red delicious, he could have said, “I’m sorry, God. I shouldn’t have disobeyed, but I was starving and the promise of knowledge sounded scrumptious. Please forgive me.”

Instead, he chose to sidestep a mercy offering from God and blocked the flow of grace from within him by pinning a prideful tail of blame on Eve. This after Eve accused the serpent jerk.

And now, light years later, we all struggle with the sludge of sin in the form of human faults and weaknesses gunking up the river of grace inside us. Being mindful of how much grace we receive helps clear the muck, allowing unmerited favors to pour out of us onto others.

Grace as a general word warms the soul with its many inherent definitions: prayer before a meal, kind and polite demeanor, simple elegance, a special favor, honorary presence, good fortune.

When considering Divine grace, one definition declares the favor a divine influence which operates in humans to regenerate and sanctify, to inspire virtuous impulses, to impart strength, and to endure trial and resist temptation.

Episcopal priest, Justin Holcomb, simplifies the concept this way, “Grace is the love of God shown to the unlovely; the peace of God given to the restless; the unmerited favor of God.”

God placed me on the receiving end of such defined grace during a recent family scenario. My husband did something that poked a nerve and I retaliated with a demeaning, sarcastic barb. The real rub was I made the jibe in front of his parents, our daughter, and an uncomfortable waitress while she took our dinner order.

I embarrassed my soulmate, esteemed him not in front of his parents, and disrespected him in front of our daughter. No grace. And when he let me know how he felt, I offered a snide and bogus apology in return. Pride snuffed out any semblance of even a little grace.

By God’s grace, however, my spouse let his anger go for the rest of the meal and engaged in small talk to ease the tension around the table. Grace is the love of God shown to the unlovely

By God’s grace, my in-laws rolled with the invisible punches and weaved themselves into the conversation. Grace is the peace of God given to the restless.

By God’s grace, our adult daughter closed her gaping jaw and chose not to comment on my surly conduct. Grace is the unmerited favor of God working through another.

The full measure of the following scripture came to life,

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10

Almost every person sitting at the table exhibited the manifold grace of God; I was the ugly exception to rule. Cue, Adam’s dammed river. Yet, I am grateful for the humble reminder my family portrayed.

Shelby Spear
Shelby Spearhttp://shelbyspear.com/
Shelby is a sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and pro-LOVE, Jesus adoring mom of 3 Millennials writing stuff & doing life with her hubby of 25 years. You can read her stories on her blog at shelbyspear.com, around the web, and in print at Guideposts. Shelby's new book, co-authored with Lisa Leshaw, is now available: How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.")

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