Leave Boldly // Day 28

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.  — Winston Churchill

If we want to leave a legacy of grace for those who come after us, we must begin by acknowledging our personal need for God’s forgiveness. One of the best ways to do this is by examining our conscience each day. When we keep short accounts with God, we prevent the spiritual debris from accumulating and blocking our ability to love and serve.

When people experience the forgiveness and love of God through the gift of His Son, they’re often ready to ask for forgiveness from those they’ve wounded and to extend mercy to those who’ve hurt them. With the freedom and joy they experience as a result of God’s forgiveness, they become empowered to face some of the hard questions of their lives.

In fact, as Jesus explains in one of His parables, there’s a reciprocal relationship between the forgiveness we experience and the forgiveness we extend. After an indebted servant begs his king for mercy for the great debt he owes, the same servant then has another servant imprisoned for his inability to repay him much less than he had owed the king. Such a double standard doesn’t cut it in God’s kingdom: “The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.” (Matthew 18:32-35, MSG).

If we judge others less and confess our own shortcomings more, then we will be investing in an eternal legacy – our character and its effect on future generations. Asking for forgiveness and admitting our hurts may never be as easy or as natural as we’d like it to be. But if knew we might not have another opportunity to make our relationships right, we’d take every possible opportunity to convey our sorrow over how we had hurt others. Proverbs tells us that the person “who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13). Confessing the fullness of our hearts can restore a level of peace that our pride, anger, and self-righteousness rob us of.

Too often we try to make amends with others without really accepting and experiencing the power of grace in our lives. We think we have to try extra hard to make it up to those we’ve offended and to keep quiet about those who have hurt us, pretending that nothing happened. But when we encounter the radical power of God’s grace, it’s literally life changing.

Grace accepts me where I am, but grace also gives me the power to change. Titus 2:11-12 says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say, ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” When we’re in the atmosphere of God’s grace and feel totally accepted, we crave change. We want to know Him and be more like Him.

If you only had one month to live, you would almost certainly want to do some things differently in your life. The problem is that no lasting changes can be made unless we’re transformed and energized by the ultimate power source, the grace of God. We can never hope to make a good exit from our lives without it.

We’re all trophies of grace. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7). We’re to accept each other and display the love of Christ to those around us. This can mean confronting others at times or humbling ourselves to confess and ask for their forgiveness. Only god’s grace can allow us to let go of past hurts and forgive others. Only His grace can motivate us to set our pride, shame, guilt, and regret aside and ask others to forgive us. The more we can put the practice of grace into our lives, the greater the legacy we will leave.

Personal Challenge

1. Spend some time with God in prayer and confession. Ask Him to reveal His grace to you in a new way, one that helps you better grasp the fullness of His love for you.

2. Is there anyone who needs your forgiveness? Reflect on the high price God paid to forgive you, and then ask Him what action, if any He wants you to take in relationship to that person.

  • susan

    Sundays is the one day I stay off the computer. Sorry! :)