One of the things that has often confounded me is, when do I extend grace? Is it all the time? And what does grace even look like, especially in marriage?
I think of grace like forgiveness—letting something go. After all, the Lord certainly has let go of the need to punish me for my sin—dying in my place so that I could receive His grace and forgiveness. #savinggrace
Why shouldn’t I do the same—extend grace every single time—to others who offend me, in particular, to my spouse?
I think I should!
But . . .
There’s always a “but”—now isn’t there?
In Matthew 18:15-17, we’re given the proper protocol for dealing with someone who sins against us. It involves layers of grace, but also deepening levels of truth and confrontation.
Well then . . . does truth replace grace? (Envision the “Church Lady” saying that last line!)
Sorry, church lady, I don’t think so.
I just think that “grace” takes on different forms or “faces,” if you will, depending on the need of the moment.
Today I want to look at the first face of grace in my new series, The Many Faces of Grace.
Proverbs 12:16 clearly illustrates what this “face” looks like and how it acts . . .
“Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.”
This is when grace is accepting and patient. It also involves forgiveness and humility.
I can only access this grace unless I remember that I am just as much a sinner as my offender—who just might be my husband a lot of the time! 😉
[Tweet “I don’t know about you, but I need to stretch in extending grace. #faceofgrace”]
When I was first married, I tried to “extend grace” under the guise of “tolerance.” Somewhere along the line I adopted the belief that as Christians we should tolerate the sins others commit against us. I believed that to do that—tolerate—was to act Christlike!
What was I thinking?
Nothing could be further from the truth!
[Tweet “I simply don’t think Proverbs 12:16 is talking about tolerance, but rather grace.”]
There’s a huge difference between gritting my teeth and stuffing my anger in “tolerance,” compared to trusting God to be the Holy Spirit (after all, He “is!”) in my mate or someone else’s life—letting the anger and frustration go in surrender to the Lord.
My husband called me on the whole “tolerance theory” back in the day. He encouraged me to be open with my feelings in any given moment. He was sorry he encouraged that! 😉
I think we both had missed how God’s grace is the first and foremost way to respond in times of conflict or hurt.
[Tweet “We both missed how God’s grace is the first and foremost way to respond in times of conflict.”]
That means that I need to change my thinking to be more like Christ’s, and not take my husband’s actions so personally. After all, jumping to conclusions makes me a . . . uh . . . What was it?
I, personally, don’t like the sound of that!
But what if I did that—jumped to a conclusion? Then I must “cool my jets” with God’s refreshing and transformational grace.
How do I do both of those God-sized tasks?
I run to the Savior’s arms for comfort and perspective, instead of running from my problem out of “tolerance” (My past way of dealing with conflict).
And . . .
I rest in the Father’s care, instead of trying to fix my conflict with human openness and logic that—without grace—leads only to debate and more conflict (My husband’s former way to deal with conflict).
The question that inevitably surfaces for me is . . .
When is it unhealthy or “enabling” to overlook an insult or sin in my spouse or another offender?
That’s where I will pick up next week, in this series, “The Many Faces of Grace.”
If you have a question about how to extend grace in marriage, please email me or mention it in the comments. I’d love to address my reader’s questions in this ongoing series.
[Tweet “Christian bloggers, join us at From Messes to Messages linkup! #MessyMarriage”]
What fears do you have about extending grace to your spouse?
How has extending grace brought healing to your marriage or other relationships?
Be sure to scroll down to comment below!
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