490 Shades of Grace
How many times have you been forgiven? Pick a number. Any number. If you're honest about it, you don't have one. Because you don't know how many times you've been forgiven. You have no idea how much grace has been extended your way. Grace.
I know you're clamoring for a number, so I'll give you one. 490. Too big? Too small is more like it. 490 is the number of times that Jesus tells Peter he should forgive a brother or sister who sins against him. Jesus answered, "I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but seventy times seven." - Matthew 18.22. In other words, as many times as a person asks for forgiveness, you should forgive them. In fact, even if they don't ask, you should forgive them lest your unforgiveness become a prison for you. Grace.
This week, Christians around the world are observing Holy Week. What a stark reminder for all that we should be a forgiving people. As Jesus hung on the Cross, in one of His final phrases He says, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." - Luke 23.34. Forgiveness. Grace.
Is there anyone you need to forgive? There's at least one person. Hint: Look in the mirror. If there are other folk whom you need to show some grace to, I encourage you to do so. If some of those folk are no longer living, get 2 chairs. Then read my Secret Failures post. Grace.
In his song, Your Grace Finds Me, Matt Redman sings about the grace of God and where it resides. Essentially, God's grace is there with you no matter what's going on in your life. Even when you don't believe it or feel as though it is or that you deserve it (You don't, by the way. None of us do.), His great grace is available to you. Grace.
Let this week be a new beginning for you. Show more grace. To everyone. Even when you feel like they don't deserve it. How much? Seventy times seven. Grace.