Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Col. 3:13 NIV
Whilst showering one day, something in the soap made me think of a Good Friday service at my church a few years ago. The main sanctuary was packed to the rafters and my reward for not coming an hour early was a seat in a small overflow room. Sitting in front of that room was a woman wailing and crying, “OH JESUS, WHY… WHY DID YOU DIE???”
I was flabbergasted. Part of me wanted to help her snap out of her histrionics. Sure, it is important to remember what happened on Good Friday, even as intensely as she did, remembering how Jesus sacrificed His life that we may find life, but what happened on that day was never the end of the story.
The story did not end there.
It didn’t end with the crucifixion.
Good Friday reminds me of grace. Grace, that unmerited favour He extends towards us. Grace, that we may be accepted and called His children. Grace, that we may be forgiven whenever we slip up.
As illogical as it may seem to us, God extends that same grace even towards those whom we may love to hate. That lady who cut you off on the road. The guy who ghosted you. That guy who replied to your long, well-crafted message with ‘k’.
He extends grace towards the hateful preacher yelling at the street corner during Pride.
He extends grace towards fraudsters who misuse Christianity for personal financial gain.
Yes, God’s grace even extends towards people who have harmed our fellow LGBTQ*s. Even towards the Christians in Uganda who target, hunt and persecute people they suspect to be LGBTQ*s.
God extends His grace towards you. Towards me.
So how do we extend grace towards those whom we’d rather hate? Those who we’d love to punch in the face and have nothing to do with? Towards those who hate and reject us. Those who make fun of us for being different. Who slander us with lies. Who make life difficult for us. Who ask us to live a lie so they won’t need to feel uncomfortable.
How do we extend grace, even when it’s illogical?
How do we extend grace, even when it hurts?
How do we extend grace, even when they’re the least deserving of it?
I don’t know. I don’t have the answers.
But I do know that if God extends His grace towards me, I should try to be a little more gracious with each passing day. Perhaps if I show grace in the small things, I’ll eventually be able to extend grace towards the more difficult things.
Have a blessed day.
– Chris Rayan
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the grace you generously and freely give towards me, even when I don’t deserve it. Help me, Lord, that I may be able to show the same grace towards others, even when it’s difficult to.
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photo credit: Congerdesign, cc0.
CHRIS RAYAN is the Associate Editor of IMPACT Magazine. He’s based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While he’s not at work or daydreaming about meeting Mr. Right, he goes to the streets and shoots and flashes people.
You can see the results of his work at www.malaysianguy.com.