The ‘grace’ I’m referring to means free, unmerited favour or goodwill. Clemency, mercy.
In music a grace note is an extra note added for embellishment.
God shows grace
Ps 84:11 – For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Proverbs 3:34 – Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble.
Deut 9:5 – 6 – It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you, ad that He may fulfil the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6. Therefore understand that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.
We are a lot like the Israelites who came out of Egypt. We like to complain. We like to selectively recall events out of our past according to the mood we’re in. We like to look back and say ‘if only’. If only I had invested in bitcoin three years ago I would be a multi-millionaire now. If only I hadn’t wasted my time by hanging out in clubs instead of studying for my degree. If only I hadn’t fallen with my skateboard and hurt my knee, I might have been selected for the national soccer team and been rich and famous. If only I quit smoking 10 years ago I wouldn’t have had lung cancer now. And so it goes on. If only, if only, if only. The Israelites weren’t any better. If only they had stayed in Egypt they wouldn’t be starving and in danger. They forget to add that they were slaves in Egypt and treated worse than dirt!
We want our rewards and we want them now. We want to pray a quick prayer and have it answered immediately. Not only do we want it answered right away, we want the answer that we want to hear.
Grace is when I don’t do anything to receive favour, but I receive it anyway. I go to work every day just as usual and one day the boss call me in and gives me a huge raise. That’s grace. I didn’t work particularly hard or do anything special to deserve the raise.
Mercy – a disposition to temper justice with mildness. Clemency, compassion.
Micah 7:18 – Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgressions of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
Titus 3:5 – He saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Luke 6:36 – Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Matthew 5:7 – Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Mercy is when you deserved to be punished but you aren’t. If I pour a glass of Coca-Cola onto your laptop keyboard because I’m mad at you and your keyboard gets fried, and you don’t get mad at me and demand for me to replace your laptop. You just wipe it off and go out and buy a new laptop. That is mercy. I was purposely vindictive towards you and you didn’t retaliate at all. God shows us mercy all the time. How many times have you done things that just aren’t right? And you didn’t get struck by lightning or fall down dead. As these versed illustrate God shows us mercy all the time and He also expects us to show mercy to others. Matthew 5:7 even says that if we are merciful we will be shown mercy. Showing mercy is not a sign of weakness. Quite the opposite. It is much easier to give a harsh answer or to mete out punishment than to be merciful and give someone a second chance, especially if the other person has hurt our family, our finances or our feelings. It’s the principle of reaping what you sow. I really, really want God to show me mercy. Hebrews 10:31 – ‘It is a fearsome thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’
Let us grow in grace and be merciful for the sake of our own souls.