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How to Choose a Year of Deliberate Grace

I’m going to choose a year of deliberate grace in 2018.

My world needs it. I need it. God stresses it.

deliberate grace, forgiveness, patience, love, joy, gentleness, Fruit of the Spirit, Jesus, God's love, extending grace, overlooking discomfort, sinIt will make the people I love happier–in part because the peace which passes all understanding should reign.

Right?

What is deliberate grace?

A choice to extend grace to an individual, organization or event when the opportunity arises.

Or, when a difficult situation rears its ugly head (as is most likely to happen) and demands a reaction.

I’m going to try very hard to not over-react and, instead, pause and think before responding.

What is grace?

I like Merriam Webster’s definition: “disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency.”

Clemency–waiving my rights,choosing to be merciful.

Deliberate: “to think about or discuss issues and decisions carefully.”

Or–not overreact which is my culturally developed response. Sigh.

Why?

Because that’s what God does for me: He applies deliberate grace to my (many) (petty) sins.

And because my community, family, friends and world needs it.

I’m choosing to overlook, not get insulted, and hunt for the best slant on what will come my way in 2018.

(Hopefully, for the rest of my life, too).

The people I meet often don’t deserve it.

But as the world turns harsher and more contentious, the sweet extension of grace drops like a glistening diamond into fraught circumstances.

It can change everything.

How?

How will I recognize when to apply deliberate grace?

That will be the major problem for me.

My impatience too frequently trips me into nasty-tongued attitudes–even if I do somehow manage not to voice them.

I need to be more more careful in my actions and choices. I need to slow down, take my time and remember that deep breaths are important.

deliberate grace, forgiveness, patience, love, joy, gentleness, Fruit of the Spirit, Jesus, God's love, extending grace, overlooking discomfort, sin

Deliberately overlooking this obstacle . . .

If I view life through the lens of “how can I be a blessing here and not a curse?” events can go smoother.

The best way to slow myself down is to take time, to ponder, and to start with the end in mind: a day full of deliberate grace.

If I begin with Bible reading, prayer and a flexible plan with margins built in, life may go better.

And when it doesn’t, I need to remember to hand out deliberate grace–particularly when I don’t want to.

When and Where?

Whenever and wherever the need arises.

Based on my past, I can guess at where and when I’m most vulnerable to a nasty attitude and reaction.

At one time in my life, I had a regular appointment that drove me crazy every single time.

I had to go for my health and that of my child, but I came away every time filled with anger and bitterness.

When I finally recognized the pattern, I decided to pray before each appointment.

That helped a lot: because I went determined to be gracious, peaceful and thankful.

I’ll aim for the same in 2018.

But again, it takes time and a willingness to slow down.

Those are hard for me.

Fruit of the Spirit

deliberate grace, forgiveness, patience, love, joy, gentleness, Fruit of the Spirit, Jesus, God's love, extending grace, overlooking discomfort, sin

Christ Church, Dublin, stained glass Fruit of the Spirit (Wikipedia Commons)

Deliberate grace manifests itself when we can extend the fruits of the spirit to the world around us.

You know what I mean: love,  joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness faith.

Against such there is no law and the world–and the rest of us–can benefit from it being used!

Rewards

God rewards us for choosing to extend deliberate grace:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6)

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)

Won’t you join me on a year of choosing deliberate grace?

 

Tweetables

2018: a year of choosing deliberate grace while living with the rest of you. Click to Tweet

What is a deliberate grace and why does the world need it from me and you? Click to Tweet

Why the world–and our communities–need us to extend grace to all. Click to Tweet

 

A reminder: in 2018, I’m reducing my posts to every Tuesday rather than twice a week.

If you’re interested in hearing from me, consider investigating the archives: 750 posts strong!

You can use the search feature to the right.

Happy new year. 

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3 Comments

  1. Wonderful post to begin the New year!

    Reply
  2. Deliberate grace, I like that. A few years ago a friend told me about how she was learning to ‘extend grace’ towards people who annoyed her…including her mother. She found herself less annoyed when she deliberately extended grace towards others during those times of irritation and frustration. Her comments stayed with me, and I, also, began to extend grace to those who annoyed and even angered me. I have found it to be a wonderful tool for allowing grace to grow in me and as an extension of me. I think the act of extending grace to others helps me to be more loving and kind. Good article. Happy New Year!

    Reply
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