ODJ: freely given
January 22, 2013
READ: Ephesians 1:1-11
He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding (v.8).
At the end of a long day, I took a moment to get a head start on my work emails—striving to preempt any surprises I might face at 8 o’clock the next morning. Frustration ebbed throughout my tired mind as I read an email that contained complaints and feelings of entitlement from a student known to be immature in his responses to life’s challenges. I wanted to send back a veiled sting of reproach, but instead I crawled into bed to think through my response. Getting to the root of my frustrations, I ignored my first inclinations and seized the opportunity to model grace.
Grace, a foundational belief of our Christian theology and experience, often remains in the abstract of our walk rather than the daily practice. In moments of frustration, the desire for a fair hearing rises up in our hearts. We rush to prove others wrong in their perceptions and to defend our cause. Whether uttered outright or in our hearts, we look for the opportunity to triumph.
In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul reminds the believers that we have access to “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ” (1:3). Sometimes we forget, however, that this spiritual treasury holds the grace necessary to extend kindness where we would otherwise demand an “eye for an eye” (Matthew 5:38-44).
Far from being a philosophical ideal, grace first became visible through Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9; Titus 2:11). In our lives it must be the same. Just as Jesus chose to love us when we had nothing to offer, our ability to extend grace is not measured by those moments when we believe someone has our back. Rather, grace takes on flesh in our lives when we offer love where we could otherwise demand vindication. —Regina Franklin
Read Titus 3:3-7 and consider how this passage is essential to our interactions with others.
Why do we struggle to choose grace in moments of frustration? What’s at the root of our desire to make our frustrations or hurt known to those who have wronged us?