I read this quote by Paul Zahl:
Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver (the one who loves) in relation to the receiver (the one who is loved) that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold…Grace is one-way love.
What does it mean to give grace? Grace is probably one of the hardest things to grasp. Perhaps because it’s so uncommon in our daily lives.
But if you’ve been a recipient of grace, you know how to be a giver too. In marriage (as in daily life), I find it hard to be the one who gives grace. But I do know how to receive it.
I receive grace when I’ve been rude to the husband, or nonchalant in my attitude, and he takes it in his stride.
I receive grace when I forget to put the phone down and ask him about his day. Yet he doesn’t grumble or nag at me.
I receive grace when the kids have made me grouchy and sulky but he rubs my back and says “it’s okay, let’s see how we can make this better.”
I see grace when I’m feeling lousy but he accepts me as I am, weaknesses and all.
I see grace when he lets me vent my frustrations, and doesn’t shut me out.
I see grace when after I’ve lost it and yelled at the kids, he doesn’t put me on a guilt trip, and sits down and troubleshoots with me instead.
And whenever I receive grace, I’m better able to spread some around, even to the kids.
When they rant and rage, I see that all they need is to let it all out, and not punish them for feeling those big emotions but work with them on how to feel better after. (I wish I always manage to stay in control, but unfortunately I’m no saint. But when I do manage to stay calm, I find it makes it easier for them to regulate their emotions and calm down.)
When they are unreasonable and unloving, I can choose to STILL be reasonable and gentle. I need to remember that I always have that option. (And erm…exercise it more.)
But then, what if we take grace for granted? (It’s easy to, isn’t it?) What if they push it further?
I could choose to bully my husband and take advantage when he’s in grace mode. But somehow I don’t. If grace is one-way love, then I must say it usually gets a reciprocal effect. It gives back. If grace is all about the giver, I feel propelled to want to be a giver too.
Because when I accept the grace that he’s offered with his open hands, I feel unworthy, almost indebted.
Also, I’m reminded that the biggest grace of all, is the one when Christ paid for my sins by dying on the cross. I can’t even begin to repay that debt.
What I can do though is to offer the same grace to others who need it as much as I do.
Grace is like a bunch of summer blooms shoved under your nose when you’re feeling blue. What are the ways you see grace at work in your family? Please share. We all need a touch of grace…