For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9}
As a child growing up Lutheran, this verse was imprinted upon me at an early age. Now, after many years of pondering grace, I have spent time thinking and reading about grace once again. Just now, reading the verse again, I see something else: in this translation, grace is not the gift from God, it is the gift of God. So grace is definitely a gift freely given to us through faith and it is the gift of God’s very nature. God is love and grace is the tangible presence of God through Jesus. If we look at the last part of this text there is the kicker, “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” To show grace to others is to be part of our way of life. We are to show mercy to others because Christ has had mercy on us.
Now comes the hard part; we are to demonstrate grace with others. Unfortunately, I find I can do this much better for people I do not know very well, but do a poor job when I know someone well, like family and close friends. Recently, I found myself praying for the young man who was involved in the Boston Marathon bombings. I felt prompted to overcome my angry feelings and ask God to forgive this man. OK, so far, so good. But what about the annoying habits that others keep on doing that become my pet peeves? We all have our lists: not closing toilet seats, throwing clothes in a pile on the floor rather than in a hamper and so on. You can likely add some to this list.
I really, intensely dislike my husband’s small espresso coffee pot. It is small and hard to clean. Whenever I dump out the grounds and clean it, I am grumbling, fuming and well, you get the picture. But, if I am going to show some grace, real grace, I would change my attitude and say it is a small problem and I am not doing myself any favors to get so worked up about it, much less be frustrated that my husband likes his coffee made in that pot. Today, I finally said to myself, I am happy to have a husband for whom I can do such a favor. I plan to work on my attitude. I realize this is a very small example of how we are to live our lives “gracefully.” But walking in Grace does start with the small things.