an alphabet of thanks “G”

(My originally scheduled post follows these remarks in italics.)

How do I even submit this post today after the horrific events of yesterday’s church shooting? How do I talk about God’s grace when, frankly, it seems like it wasn’t evidenced yesterday?  And yet I still believe God’s grace is real.

No, I know it’s real. 

I also know that this tragedy reflects a world that needs God’s love. And the only ways that anyone can know God’s love is when they see it in the lives of those who are already experiencing it.  It isn’t enough to pray. It isn’t enough to read our Bibles. It certainly isn’t enough to show up at church every Sunday.

We have to love. I’m not talking about sloppy sentimentality.

You know what I mean.

People who “say” the words but whose life doesn’t reflect it. And I’m not talking about overlooking situations that should be addressed. I’m not talking about lack of consequences for criminal activity. In fact, it’s when we don’t address these problems early on out of a false sense of what love is, that situations like this escalate. 

I’m talking about the smallest “little” acts of kindness: manners, smiling, offers of help, genuine attention to the needs of others, etc. There are all kinds of ways to show love. And these all reflect grace.

There are all kinds of “hurting” people we run into every day. People whose lives are in chaos. People who are depressed. People who are grieving. Etc.

Think about the last time you had a bad day. You went about your day feeling miserable. But you ran into someone who smiled at you.  How did you feel? I’ll bet it helped and I’ll bet you felt a little hope.

Now think of that same day. You went about your day and everyone you ran into ignored you. No one smiled at you. How did that make you feel? It made you feel worse, didn’t it?

We should never underestimate the power of a smile or a kind word. It can save somebody’s life.

And if we engage in a conversation, it’s even better. And there’s always a way to open a door to a conversation. 

Remember, grace is ours to give, as much as receive. 

And I’m not suggesting for one minute that such simple acts can stop all the violence. Or that things will change overnight. But don’t you agree that it’s a place to start? That’s it’s the one place we all can start? 

I have been praying for many years that I live my life as someone who is part of the solution, not part of the problem. If we all would work harder at permeating our little part of the world with love, then our little part of the world would be safe. If everyone everywhere did the same thing, then the entire world would be safe.

 There was a song from the seventies that is truly “schmaltzy”. It’s trite and simplistic but I think it reflects how we all would like to world to be.”

Today is easy. Grace, indescribable, undeserved, and unending. 

When I think of all the ways God has “graced” me, I am humbled. And not just me. I read Scripture and see God’s grace to the Israelites time and time again. I see God’s grace extended to others every day.  But the one thing about grace that needs to be said is this:

While God’s grace is free, it isn’t cheap. It was paid with a price. A big one.

When God extends His grace, we need to remember the price that was paid for it and to make sure we don’t just accept the gift too casually.

I don’t understand God’s grace.  I’m just grateful for it.

I wonder how many times God’s grace showers us and we aren’t even aware of it. The times, for example, when we say something we shouldn’t but we don’t suffer the consequences. The times we act foolishly and yet are spared the fallout. The times we miss asking for God’s blessing and yet He gives it anyway.

We all probably experience more grace every day than we ever recognize. Maybe that’s why it’s called, “grace”, and not something else.

I wonder how many times we confuse grace with good luck.

I only know that without grace, that undeserved gift from God, I wouldn’t make it through the day.

God bless and have a good day.