GRACE–the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
PATIENCE–the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting upset or angry
Over the years since the gospel has become more man-centered, we have seen the slow, painful demise of showing grace to those around us. It’s everywhere. “It’s all about me!!” Or, “How dare he be late. Doesn’t he know how valuable my time is?” Driving a car? Oh boy, talk about your lack of patience and grace!! Oh sure, we talk about the grace that God showed us when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. We’re ALL about that grace! Why wouldn’t we be? I mean, there we were, filthy, vile, wretched sinners, but God, because of His love for us, sent His only Begotten Son to take the punishment for our sins. We did not deserve one ounce of that grace. Not one. But yet, we are so thankful that He did that instead of leaving us where we were.
Sadly, we aren’t so quick to show grace to our fellow believers. I know how I used to be. Very low on patience and just as low on grace. I think those two go hand in hand. If we’re low on patience, we certainly can’t be gracious. And I still have those moments where I’m not practicing either one. Believers should be the poster children of patience and grace, but sometimes, I think we get so wrapped up in ourselves that we forget to extend those to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Why? Are our needs, wants, and desires that much more important that those around us should cater to them instead of remembering that we, too, aren’t any better than they are? Is our time that much more valuable than theirs? Do we think we are more deserving of God’s grace than they are? We tend to make excuses and justify our lack of patience and grace. We point out how that “stupid driver cut us off!” We get frustrated when people don’t seem to do things our way. “Yeah, but……” Yeah, but, nothing. Again…..NONE of us deserved the free grace God gave us but He gave it anyway. We are to follow Christ’s example in how we treat our fellow believers even if we think they don’t deserve it.
If God saw fit in His love to extend to us and our other brothers and sisters in Christ free grace through Jesus Christ, why are we less willing to show grace to each other? Do we think so much more highly of ourselves that they aren’t worthy of our grace? We sure love and appreciate the grace God showed to us, but to have to show it to our fellow Christians?? Well, that’s just asking a little too much……according to some people. If we take our focus off ourselves and onto Christ, we would find it easier to be gracious and kind and patient.