As a child, my parents had us kids bow our heads before every meal and say grace. I didn’t know what that meant until my parents told me it was a blessing or a statement of thanksgiving for the meal we were about to receive. That was difficult for me since I was a very picky eater and didn’t usually like what I was being asked to devour. I would rather have prayed for a miracle and ask God to change the spinach into French fries and the broccoli into ice cream!
Since that time I’ve discovered the word ‘grace’ to mean so much more than a prayer you offer before a meal. It has helped me to lead people in a more compassionate way. It causes me to release people from my ‘hard line’ ways and encourages them to experience a dimension of freedom from my opinions. Grace helps me love people more completely because it doesn’t make performance the basis of relationship. It is an activity that is cloaked around generosity, kindness and goodwill. When grace is present a person will find favor, acceptance and respect.
Paul the Apostle used these words to describe our relationship with Christ. Eph. 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Grace makes relationship possible! Without it, none of us could connect with God or others for a long-term kinship.
Some people believe in Karma. The literal meaning of the word means action, work or deed. It basically refers to the principle of causality where intent and actions of an individual – influence and dictate the future of that individual. Good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and future suffering. In other words, ‘What goes around comes around.’
I do believe your actions carry repercussions and ramifications. Isaiah Is. 3:10-11 indicate that to be true. “Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with them for what their hands have dealt out shall be done to them.” Paul the Apostle said: “whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
There is much to be said for this principle but God’s Word tells us that your good or bad actions do not dictate and decide your ultimate fate. God’s Grace does! According to the Bible… No one’s future is bright if it is determined by his or her own personal thoughts, actions and attitudes. We have all sinned, disobeyed, strayed, resisted, rebelled and lived in autonomy. No amount of good works can earn you a medal – deserving of a pardon.
Believe me, you don’t want to get what you deserve. You and I need GRACE from God and people need for us to extend grace to them.
Maybe you should set some time aside to visit one of the many church families this weekend. It’s a place where grace is extended to all those who come.
Pastor Tim Howard is the Lead Pastor at Koinonia Church. Any comments can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org