Nana’s Nook: The Encouragement of Forgiveness

Good morning, friends.

As we begin a new week, I am still thinking about my stated goals for the New Year: Live in His grace. Give His grace. We have spent the last two weeks talking about the first part of that, living in God’s grace. I hope the things we have shared have been helpful to you in your own walk with the Lord, as they have been in mine.

Today I want to spend some time talking about the second part of the goal, giving His grace. What does that look like on a daily basis? As I have thought about that in recent weeks, several things have come to mind that I would like to share with you today.

When I think of that phrase, Give His grace, the first thing that comes to mind is forgiveness. I am reminded of the Scripture found in Colossians 3:13, which says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT). I have said it before, but it bears repeating, if we truly comprehend the degree of God’s forgiveness for our own sins, and the grace He has lavished on us, we will find it much easier to forgive those who have sinned against us. That is giving God’s grace!

But I see another level in this as well. If we are giving His grace, we will be reaching out to those in need, offering help as we are able with acts of loving service. We had a family discussion recently around our dinner table and our son, Kevin, had some great insights into this very topic. In fact, he is the one who opened the conversation and challenged us all to a new way of looking at what that phrase means: acts of loving service. He shared that often people are so willing to help with what they think you need, instead of finding out what you really need. They offer acts of service that fit their strengths, which is not a bad thing, but it may not be what someone really needs at that moment.

For example, people who have been blessed financially might offer money to someone who is in need, when what that person may actually need is the gift of time or emotional support or actual physical help. Kevin shared a personal experience that he and Ashley had that demonstrates this point so well. A couple from their church showed up at their house one evening and gave them some cash and said, “You guys go out for dinner and have some time together. We are staying with the kids.” This couple could have just given them the cash, which would have been a huge blessing. But what Kevin and Ashley really need many times is just help with their children, particularly their special needs son, Jackson. He told us that when his in-laws come to visit, his father-in-law just immediately takes Jackson and sits with him the whole time they are there, giving Kevin and Ashley a much needed break. Kevin is just constantly grateful for these acts of loving service.

So, here is my challenge to all of us this week. As we seek to live in God’s grace and give His grace, look for opportunities to give forgiveness to those who have hurt you and caused you pain, remembering God’s forgiveness to you. And also look for opportunities to minister to others with acts of loving service. Get to know people. Have eyes to see beyond the surface. Understand where they are in their lives and minister to them according to their needs. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom and direction and then give grace this week wherever God leads!