We live in a world where our fallen nature and sin cause us to behave unseemly. Church leaders are not exempt from this reality. This side of who we are desires things that are in direct opposition to God and his will. You can look around and see the atrocities that humans are capable of and how it seems society’s most vulnerable are constantly victimized in one way or another.
Maybe that’s you. Perhaps you have been both victim and perpetrator and are stuck in a never-ending loop of missing God’s mark of perfection. The strange thing is that these sins don’t have to be elaborate or even involve another person, but it’s still sin in opposition to a holy and righteous God.
Pastors and church leaders are called to set an example and lead others. The question stands, how are we able to do that when God's standard is wildly unattainable?
The answer? Jesus and his grace.
Grace is the unmerited favor that enables us to be in right standing with God, giving us the power to overcome the desire to sin. It holds abundant blessings to help us in our weakness and gives us the strength to persevere when we do fall short. It’s important to remember that grace is a treasure trove full of love, forgiveness, and compassion. These are the precious stones we can hold to when guiding ourselves and others away from poor decisions. These three main ingredients of grace are the light that shows us a way out of our darkness.
God’s love is unconditional. There isn’t anything we can do to earn it and nothing we can do to lose it. It’s complete. Love gives grace its foundation. It helps us know we can run toward the Father when we mess up instead of running and hiding from him. This affection can only be found in the Father, and when we let his love in, we are able to share this gift with others.
Because God’s love is unconditional, that means his forgiveness is too. He doesn’t hold a record of our wrongdoings. When we make mistakes, he is quick to forgive and let go; no payment is required. There may be unintended consequences of our actions, but God is never punishing us for our fallenness. He only wants to draw us near so he can comfort us.
Compassion is love in action. God’s love took him to the cross, where he took on all our sins. In this action, he took our place, paid our sin debt, and set us free. We can enjoy this freedom in Christ and allow compassion to become a regular practice in our own lives. Showing compassion to ourselves and others when we mess up is an earmark of a faithful follower of Christ.
In his infinite love, God gave us the cure to the sin we produce in our fleshly nature. He provided for us a covering that enables us to be in right standing with our Creator. Christ’s sacrifice allows us to boldly approach God even though we are flawed. This is a life-saving grace.
As you work and communicate today, how will you demonstrate grace?