[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]LIFE IN FULL BLOOM with Neziswa N Kanju
WE LIVE BY GRACE!!!!! I have found myself saying this more often than not these past few weeks as I was supernaturally protected from being involved in two accidents. On both those accounts I was delayed and events that caused those delays do not normally happen and they prevented me from being in those accidents. When I retraced my steps I know full well that I should and would have been part of those life altering events. I have been pondering a lot and meditating a lot on grace these past weeks and I have realised that not only do we live by grace but that this truth is a reality for our relationships as well. Our relationships live and continue to live by grace!!
According to Romans 3: 23-24 — All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God forgives us when the wrong sometimes is the very thing that we would not forgive others for. If we have all sinned then why aren’t we as forgiving of others when they do us wrong? Most of the time, when people sin against us, when our spouse sins against us; when our children do something wrong, we are not quick to forgive.
People make mistakes and will continue to make mistakes. You make mistakes and will continue to make mistakes; that is why all of us need grace! Truth be told, if God acted towards us the way that we act towards others and He was not quick to forgive we would all be dead by now. The Bible tells us in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death therefore none of us should be alive because we all sin. We are alive because daily God extends grace towards us!
We (all of us) sin and: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us — 1 John 1:8
Don’t keep a record of wrongs
We say hurtful things, all of us, sometimes. That is why the Bible tells us that love does not keep a record of wrongs. When you keep a record you constantly refer back to the incident. You remind the person of what they said or did. Some even boast about having such a good memory that they remember things that happened years ago!! When you constantly relate these to people please remember that they are capable of doing the same thing. Keeping a record of wrongs does not help a relationship; it slowly contributes to its death. If God kept a record of wrongs all of us would be guilty. ALL OF US!!! NO EXCEPTION BECAUSE NONE IS PERFECT!!! That is why grace is extended…Christ said to forgive seventy times seventy when someone sins against you (Matthew 18:22). Christ knew that when you work with people, when you minister together with people, in your family there will be times when you do not see eye to eye. There will be times when you are irritated, when you are wronged and when you wrong others.
When someone says, “I am sorry” forgive because you would also want to be forgiven if the tables were turned.
Grace!! What is grace? Grace is unmerited favour. It is undeserved mercy!
I often say if it was not for the grace of God I would have surely died a long time ago. We live by grace. We LIVE by grace. The opposite is also true. We really do die if grace is not there. We die emotionally!! If grace is not extended to our loved ones and we cut them by our words every time they do something, they are constantly being killed by our words emotionally. As much as we know death as being physical, it is also emotional. People die by our words, by our actions. Their self-esteem dies, their trust dies. If words that cut through to the essence of who they are come from the very people who are supposed to love them they will slowly die emotionally. Their bright spark of life that radiates from their soul will diminish and eventually fade.
Look after your loved ones by the words that you utter from your mouth. Extend grace to your loved ones because it is not all the time that they are going to do everything just the way you want it. They will not be just the way you want them. They will not carry out tasks, keep house, handle situations just the way you would do it. Their way might irritate you to Mars and back. They will do something that is going to hurt you. They will say something that is going to hurt you. Relationships are not easy! The moment you extend grace to them; the moment you extend a hand of reconciliation; the moment you extend an embrace of reconciliation it is when you both heal.
“There by the grace of God, go I”!!!! Put yourself in another’s shoes and know that you are also human and you are capable of making the very same mistakes you are irritated at others for making. You also have your own weaknesses that might be irritating to others and you would also love it if others forgave you and were gracious towards you.
Focus on your own faults
Consider you for a change. Focus on your own faults. When you are tempted to judge and criticise others which is what happens most of the time how about you ask yourself “What do I do that irritates my wife?”; “What do I do that irritates my husband?”; “How have I contributed to this explosion of anger that has overtaken my home?” All of us have a part to play. For a theatre play to happen and progress scene by scene each actor relies on his or her co-actors to say their lines. Even if it is a one man play it is line by line, sentence by sentence that sees a play from start to finish. Own your part of the “play”. You have said your part for the argument to escalate to the levels that it has escalated to. You live in the house; you are part of the marriage. What have you done that has contributed to the situation BOTH of you are facing? Before you attack extend grace and know that as a human being you are just as capable of the sin; of the wrongdoing that is irritating you.
There are real concerns that you as a couple might be facing: infidelity, abuse, debt, unemployment and indeed it might be your spouse’s fault that as a family you are in that situation. But know that it is still a challenge that both of you must face and together. When you got married you married the king and the pauper in your husband; the healthy and the sick; the better and the worse in your spouse. You said your vows committing to be there forsaking all others. You said “I love you and will continue to love you”…Let us look at what love is and let us put it in the context of grace.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 tell us:
Love is patient! LOVE IS FULL OF GRACE!
Love is kind!!! LOVE IS FULL OF GRACE!
It is not self – seeking! LOVE IS FULL OF GRACE!
It is not proud. LOVE IS FULL OF GRACE!
It does not dishonour others. LOVE IS FULL OF GRACE!
It is not easily angered. LOVE IS FULL OF GRACE!
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. LOVE IS FULL OF GRACE!
It always protects. LOVE IS FULL OF GRACE!
Always trusts. LOVE IS FULL OF GRACE!
Always Hopes. LOVE IS FULL OF GRACE!
Always Perseveres. LOVE IS FULL OF GRACE!
LOVE NEVER FAILS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
God extends his grace towards us; His unmerited undeserved mercy. We do not even have to beg for it when we say we are sorry and we repent God is just to forgive us of all our iniquities. EXTEND HANDS OF GRACE TO YOUR LOVED ONES. EXTEND LOVE TO YOUR LOVED ONES!!! THEY NEED IT AND TRUTH BE TOLD YOU NEED IT ALSO!!!
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