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13 August 2010

I am not entitled...

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was frustrated with another party who seemed -- to me -- to be completely overlooking some of the ground floor, simple teachings of Jesus, particularly in Matthew 5 (there are a lot of them there; I'm not going to talk specifics). In a nutshell, I felt they were overlooking grace and were simply self-concerned.

The thing that made my observation so off-base was that I felt they were overlooking grace toward me.

It's ironic -- in expecting someone else to have grace toward me, I was considering myself to be entitled to their grace. In doing so, I failed to give grace to them.

Realizing this made me consider a prominent theme throughout Scripture, and while it doesn't hold true for every situation (false teaching comes to mind), it applies in far more situations than you'd think in relationships with people:

I am not entitled to your grace, but you are entitled to mine.

I believe that this is the attitude that every Christ follower should embrace. It falls in line with what Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 8, regarding meat sacrificed to idols. "...while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church." (1 Corinthians 8:1b, NLT) Knowledge can be a killer when we apply it to everyone else. Our perspective in applying knowledge frequently makes everything seem lopsided in our favor, snuffing out our new nature that should be filled with grace for others. I say this for my own benefit, because I seem to be one of the worst violaters of this principle.

"I am not entitled to your grace, but you are entitled to mine." Accurate or not?


John King said...

Grace. First what is it? It is one showing another Godly Respect in the nutshell. My opinion, Even those which you don't respect deserve Grace. Your Grace will in turn show them how by your example to be able to repcipicate Grace. One who demands, or expects for others to show him or her Grace. There putting themselves on a platform. Or have been treated that way for along time an they begin to expect it. That too is wrong in my opinon. Due to there are those who dont truly understand what Grace is.
A man goes to a Friend with a probem. The man trys to show Grace, he sometimes falls but gets back up due to his Grace to Glory Jesus. now lets say the friend, well hes busy or whatever. An doesn't take the issue seriously. Thats not showing much Grace.
Grace is 24/7...Willing to do anything for God at anytime no matter what. Everything written is just a opinon. Does Not Reflect on Anyone.
Just a Drummers opinon

Jeff said...

Great insight, Dean, as always. I'm dealing with this right now, as a matter of fact. When someone attacks or goes on a tirade that completely defies godly behavior, we tend to become pious, forgetting how critical it is (right at that very moment) to be able to "abound" in grace, as the New Testament authors instructed us. It's just easier for me to give grace to somebody when they are offending anyone besides me. It's the American way: 3rd person grace, I like to call it.

Dean Lusk said...

John, really liked this comment, and I think you're dead-on: "One who demands, or expects for others to show him or her Grace. There putting themselves on a platform." Scripture tells us that this is the opposite of the way we're supposed to be. One of my favorite (and hard to obey) verses is Philippians 2:3: "Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves." (NLT)

Jeff, I like your summary phrase: "3rd person grace." That's easy to achieve. Sometimes grace is so counter-intuitive to me. It's part of the old (former) man that I want to hang onto for dear life, because it feels like I'm compromising my principles sometimes.

I'm not suggesting that we give a pass to false doctrine or condone sin, by the way. Hope that's well-understood.

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